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Transactions of the 

Congregational Historical Society 

Vol. XVI. 1949-1951 

Edited by Albert Peel, M.A., Litt.D., and Geoffrey F. Nuttall, M.A., D.D. 



Autobiographies at Dr. Williams s Library, MS. 
Bibliographical Notes and Identifications, Some . . 
Bogue, David, to William Bull, 1813 

Briefs, Church . . 137 

Bunyan, John, The Imprisonments of 

Church and Dissent in the Reign of Queen Anne 164 

Covenant in Independency, The Church . . 
Doddridge, Philip, Letters by 
Doddridge, Philip, Letters to Samuel Clark 
Fletcher, Alexander, 1787-1860 
Guestwick Church Book, 1692-1732, From the . . 
Lord s Supper, The Controversy concerning Free Admission 

to the I" 78 

Mill Hill Village before 1807, Nonconformity in 

Peel, Albert H7 

Presbyterianism under the Commonwealth 

Protector, The Lord 

Roby, William, His Missionary Candidates 

Spencer, Thomas, Funeral Sermons on . . 

Testimonies, Some Seventeenth-Century 64 

Thomas, Robert, of Baglan (d.1692) 

Tonica Congregational Church, 1857-1948 96 

Watts, Isaac, and Eighteenth Century Dissent . . 6 

BALANCE SHEET . . . . . . . . . . . *8 


Biggs, W.W. 


Brett- James, N. G. 


Godber, Joyce 


Jones, J. Morgan 


Matthews, A. G. 


Nuttall, G. F. 

.. 154, 204 

Parry, K. L 


Paul, R. S 


Peel, Albert 

96, 102, 104 

Rees, T. Mardy 


Robinson, W. G. . . 

. . 82, 145 

Surman, C. K. 

39, 103,137 

Taylor, J. H. . . 


Thorpe, A. F. 





.. 1,49,113,161 


102, 106,159, 160 





Reprinted with the permission of the original publishers 


a Division of 




Printed in Germany 
Lessingdruckerei Wiesbaden 



THIS year our Society celebrates its Jubilee, and it is pleasant 
to record that the fact is to be acknowledged by the 
Congregational Union of England and Wales in a resolution 
of congratulation at the May Assembly. Not only so, but the Union 
has made a grant of 50 as a recognition of the Society s work, and 
to enable the Jubilee to be fittingly celebrated; it has also promised 
to make a contribution to the Society s funds each year. 

It is fitting that at the Annual Meeting our President should survey 
the half-century s work. Dr. S. W. Carruthers will be present to 
convey the greetings of the Presbyterian Historical Society, and 
there will be other speakers. The meeting will be held in one of the 
rooms at Westminster Chapel, London, on Wednesday, llth May, 
at 5. 30. 

As part of the Commemoration we shall issue a special number in 
the autumn. This will include the President s Commemoration 
Survey, and other articles. 

* ( * * * * 

In this commemoration year it is peculiarly fitting that we should 
have the Rev. K. L. Parry s paper on Isaac Watts, and that the 
Rev. C. E. Surman, who has done such yeoman work for the 
Society, should also be represented. Mr. Parry has been Chairman 
of the Committee responsible for the new Congregational Hymnbook, 
which is expected to see the light next year. 

It is also very appropriate that one of the oldest members of the 
Society, Mr. N. G. Brett-James, should have an article in this 
number. Mr. Brett-James s Mill Hill War Record is in the press 
and his Introducing Chaucer is also announced. It is gratifying, to 
us as to him, that his son s book, Report my Squad, a story which 
covers the period from Alamein to Rangoon, has been recommended 
by the Book Society. Captain Antony Brett- James, by the way, 
has been commissioned by the War Office to write the Official History 
of the 5th Indian Division, in which he served. 

Mr. Brett- James reports that the local paper, describing a lecture 
of his, spoke of the Nonconformists as the "Protestant Deserters" \ 

All who have used the Congregational Library at 14 Beacon 
Street, Boston, will regret to hear of the death of the Rev. Frederick 
T. Persons last September. Mr. Persons combined courtesy with 
learning, and many scholars are in -his debt, among them our 
Research Secretary, the Rev. C. E. Surman. In recent years Mr. 


Persons often brought to mind the Rev. T. G. Crippen, the first 
Secretary of our Society, and its lynch-pin for many years. It was 
always worth while going to consult them on any point, for their 
minds roamed over the whole field of Congregational history; while 
it often took a considerable time to reach the particular information 
you sought, your mind was enriched about many other things. 

Mr. Person s successor as Librarian is the Rev. Francis W. Allen, 
and we hope many of the delegates to the International Congrega 
tional Council will look in to see him and his Library, .and be afflicted 
with a proper sense of shame when they realize how shabbily the 
denomination has treated the Memorial Hall Library in London. 
While they will not find at Boston the wealth of books on Noncon 
formist history and on hymnology possessed by the Memorial Hall 
Library, they will find a comfortable reading room, a large range of 
periodicals, a good selection of recent books, and facilities for 
borrowing the same. Arrangements are also made for frequent 
"book-talks" by recognized authorities. Let the officials and 
committees of the Congregational Union of England and Wales see, 
mark, learn and follow. 

* * * * i* 

We hope all our readers saw Mr. Surman s sound counsel to 
writers of local Church histories under "Congregational Comment" 
in The Christian World. We wish that somehow a copy could be 
placed in the hands of a diaconate before arranging for a history to 
be written, as well as in the hands of the chosen or self-appointed- 
historian. Not once nor twice in the last twenty years we have been 
placed in an embarrassing position by the receipt of a local history 
sent by its enthusiastic author. What is one to say when the book is 
badly written, packed with inaccuracies and irrelevances, altogether 
disproportioned, and with a multitude of printer s errors? It is a 
great joy to be able to congratulate a church on a piece of work well 
done, which will stand the test of time, but what is one to say to an 
author who has not the beginning of the glimmer of an idea how to 
write a history, who has consulted nobody (sometimes not even a 
minister well fitted to advise), and allowed nobody to read the proofs 
but himself? We hope that Mr. Surman s article will prevent 
catastrophes of this kind in the future. Let it be an accepted axiom 
that to be a Senior Deacon, a Sunday School superintendent or 
even a minister for fifty years does not necessarily qualify one to 
write the history of his church. 


Independent Press showed itself enterprising when it secured the 
English rights of Mr. A. P. Davis s Isaac Waits. The book has been 
warmly welcomed on every hand, and all the reviews were favour- 


able, with one exception. Mr. Parry s view of the book appears in 
the paper printed within: here we content ourselves with quoting 
what the Rev. Erik R. Routley says in the Bulletin of the Hymn 
Society : 

This book was published in the United States in 1943, and its 
appearance in this country last October was most timely. It can 
be recommended unhesitatingly as an admirable, indeed an 
indispensable work. Watts has had four biographers before Mr. 
Davis, namely Thomas Gibbons (1780), Thomas Milner (1834), 
Edwin Paxton Hood (1875) and Thomas Wright (1914); of 
these, the author tells us, only the first two are valuable as 
documents, so that well over a hundred years have passed since 
the last full-scale biography was written. Mr. Da vie has gained 
access to a great deal of material, mostly in the form of corre 
spondence, which was not available to his predecessors, and his 
handling of the material is masterly. A publisher s note draws 
attention to a slip or two in the text (which has been photo 
graphically reproduced from the American edition), but the 
reader need have no fear of trusting Mr. Davis as an authority. 
The book deals, of course, with the whole of Watts s life and 
activities, and indeed is not in any sense a hymnological work. 
It has a chapter on Watts s hymns, but this does not set out to 
be critical. The value of the book to those interested in hymns 
but not in history is to show how indispensable some historical 
sense is to any hymnologist; for it shows vividly what manner 
of man it was who in his early thirties could write "When I 
survey the wondrous cross" and three hundred other hymns, 
many of which compete with that one for the highest place. In 
all his life and work, in his hesitancy about going forth into the 
ministry, his reluctance to accept the call to Mark Lane, his 
tendency to preach best when at home; in his outward-looking 
theology and his overmastering sense of awe; even in his near- 
Calvinism, his disparagement of earth, his slightly ridiculous 
children s verses; and certainly in his love of facts and distrust 
of feelings Watts is seen to be the modest, self-forgetful but 
God-intoxicated saint of all his generation. Such is the picture 
which stands out of Mr. Da vis s pages, and we are grateful for 
his great work. One of the most admirable features of the book 
is the comprehensive bibliography, running to 25 pages. And, 
if a Congregationalist may be allowed to do so, we congratulate 
the Independent Press on its enterprise in making this book 
available to us. 

Round about 30th January a concerted attempt was made not 
1 * 


merely to whitewash but to canonize Charles I, and more nonsense 
was written than about any other event in history, unless it be the 
execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, another accomplished liar. There 
may be some excuse for ignorant and prejudiced divines, who knew 
no better, but what is one to say of those who call themselves his 
torians who set out to show regardless of evidence that Charles 
died for "democracy", religion, and the Church of England? The 
Spectator, perhaps in compensation for its treatment of Isaac Watts, 
and the Sunday Times both dealt delightfully with Dr. E. Wingfield- 
Stratford, who seems to be taking three volumes to make Charles I 

into the man his champion thinks he ought to be. 
.* * * * ^ 

If the Warwickshire County Council deserves a high place among 
civic authorities for the way it is caring for and publishing its records, 
its opposite number in the ecclesiastical field is the Lincoln Record 
Society, which has done excellent work since it was founded in 1910. 
True, the latest volume (39) is that for 1942, but an admirable piece 
of work it is, with Introduction and Indexes, so far as we have been 
able to test them, all they should be. 

The volume, Vol. I of The Rolls and Register of Bishop Oliver 
Sutton, 1280-1299, deals with institutions to benefices and confirm 
ations of heads of religious houses in the Archdeaconry of Lincoln; 
it is the work of Miss Rosalind Hill, whose enthusiastic Preface is 
followed by a scholarly Introduction. There is nothing exciting and 
nothing very human about the entries, which follow the correct 
formulae; in these days, may be, many will be disposed to sym 
pathize with the vicar of West Ravendale, who, receiving his meals 
from the priory, where there was "perpetual abstinence from meat", 
complained that a diet suitable for a religious was not enough to 
sustain a parish priest. 

After this paragraph had been written there came to hand Dr. 
Nuttall s notice of Vol. 38 of the Society s works, which contains 
Vol. I of The First Minute Book of the Gainsborough Monthly Meet 
ing of the Society of Friends, 1669-1719, transcribed down to 1689. 
Of it he says: 

It is good to see the Lincoln Record Society printing frankly 
Nonconformist source-material. The Editor, Harold W. Brace, 
who is the present Clerk of Lincolnshire Monthly Meeting, writes 
14 introductory pages on "The Early History of the Gains 
borough Monthly Meeting", in which he indicates influences 
predisposing to Quakerism in Lincolnshire as well as the nature 
of the material transcribed. He also provides an index of sub 
jects (e.g., Children, Disciplinary Proceedings, Testamentary 
Matters, each with several sub-headings), as well as a full index 
of persons and places; but no identification of the persons is 


attempted, nor is the material elucidated by footnotes, except 
for dates. This is good, careful work, and might well inspire 
members of our Society to endeavour similar support for the 
transcription of our older church books. 

We are glad to welcome Miss Joyce Godber, M.A., F.S.A., as a 
contributor. Miss Godber is County Archivist to the Bedfordshire 
County Council, and her paper on Bunyan s Imprisonments rightly 
finds a place in the journal of a Society of which Dr. John Brown 
was for so long President. 

We should like one feature of the Jubike number to be a list of 
works members have in progress just to show that the Society has 
not a history merely. It is encouraging and gratifying that many 
young scholars are presenting theses for University degrees on 
aspects of Nonconformist history. In order that our list may be as 
complete as possible, we should be grateful if members would 
forward accounts of work on which they are engaged. 

Mr. Basil Cozens-Hardy is publishing later this year through the 
Oxford University Press the diary of Sylas Neville, M.D. (1767- 
1788), republican Dissenter, sermon- taster, antiquary, medical 
student in Edinburgh, playgoer, art critic, indulger in gallantries. 

The keenness of the Rev. Richard Ball, one of our members, put 
us into touch with Mr. J. W. Clarke, of Bridewell, near Uffculme, 
the owner of the diary of Samuel Short, Dissenting Minister at 
Uffculme, where Mr. Clarke s family has long been resident. The 
Diary covers the years 1705-1726, and Mr. Clarke has generously 
presented it to the Society. Part of it was recently printed in the 
Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 

Dr. Williams s Library has been a boon to many ministers and students, 
and we welcome the coming of "Friends of Dr. Williams s Library." The 
fit and proper person to deliver the Inaugural Lecture was Mr. Stephen K. 
Jones, who followed his father as Chief Librarian, and recently retired from 
the post. Mr. Jones s lecture Dr. Williams and His Library (Heffer, 2s.) 
is a readable account of the Library s founder and of developments until 
the present day. 

Two useful pamphlets from the Kingsgate Press are the Rev. E. A. 
Payne s The Baptist Movement in the Reformation and Onwards (Is.), and 
a composite work by Drs. P. W. Evans, Henry Townsend, and Win. 
Robinson, Infant Baptism Today (6d.). 

Isaac Watts and i8th Century Dissent 

ISAAC WATTS is the only dissenting Divine to have a monument 
in Westminster Abbey. No honour was thereby intended to his 
dissent. His chief title to fame today is as the founder of English 
hymnody. But when he died he was not only the leader of English 
Dissent but a great national figure. Perhaps Bernard Manning is 
right when he says that as a writer of hymns we must "place him a 
little lower than Wesley". He is certainly right when he says that 
"to Watts more than to any other man is due the triumph of the 
hymn in English worship". Some of us would accept the verdict of 
Walter Raleigh: "Isaac Watts is the rock of ages among Hyrnn 
writers, first and easily the greatest. It s his language that knocks 
me, t;p-top gravity and simplicity". Samuel Johnson, as we know, 
did not share this appraisal of his poetic work, but his tribute to Dr. 
Watts may serve to remind us that he has other titles to fame. "His 
poems", he says, "are by no means his best works. ... It is suffi 
cient for Watts to have done better than others what no man has 
done well". Of his prose works he says: "It is difficult to read a 
page without learning or at least wishing to be better. ... He that sat 
down only to reason, is on a sudden compelled to pray". 

But it was the man himself who made the greatest impression on 
his contemporaries. "Few men", says Johnson, "had left behind 
such purity of character". 

Not so the gentle Watts : in him we find 
The fairest pattern of an humble mind; 
In him the softest, richest virtues dwells, 
As mild, as light, as soft, as evening gales. 

The "gentle Watts" is the word we find most often. 

His was not the meekness of a phlegmatic temperament; indeed 
he could be peppery on occasion, especially when his fever was 
upon him, for he suffered from long periods of bad health and 
insomnia; but by his piety, if not by nature, he was a most humble, 
tender, lovable soul. After reading his Orthodoxy and Chanty 
United, Johnson remarked that "it was not only in his book, but in 
his mind that orthodoxy was combined with charity". He could not 
avoid the controversies of his age, but he hated controversy. "Vic 
tory is the point designed, while truth is pretended; and truth often 
times perishes in the fray, or retires from the field of battle". "Oh 
that we would put off our pride, our self-sufficiency and our infalli- 


biliry, when we enter into a debate of truth". "A dogmatist in 
religion is not a great way off from a bigot, and is in high danger of 
growing into a bloody persecutor". Arthur Paul Davis well says of 
him: "Charitable, pious, gentle, his saintliness was tinged with just 
enough worldliness to make him human. Very few figures in his 
century have been so universally beloved, and few have been so 
worthy of such love". And yet of this great and good man, how 
little is known. 

The standard biography by Thomas Milner was written in 1834. 
In his preface he quotes an interesting letter from Daniel Neal to 
Philip Doddridge, who had been asked to write the life of Watts. 
"This morning I was with Lady Abney on the subject of your writ 
ing Dr. Watts life; and am now to acquaint you with her sentiments 
in concurrence with my own, which are that very few materials are 
likely to be found, and those that may be must not be communicated 
to you immediately, Dr. Jennings having declined writing the life, 
merely or principally for want of materials, which he had inquired 
for particularly of Lady Abney". Dr. Doddridge did not fulfil the 
undertaking, apparently because he could not find sufficient material. 
It would appear from Neal s letter that important material was 
withheld, and the implication is that Lady Abney withheld it. It 
was not until 1780, thirty-two years after his death, that the Memoirs 
of the Rev. Isaac Watts by Dr. Thomas Gibbons appeared, and 
Miner s Life came fifty years later. Milner says that the general 
impression that few materials existed was unfounded. But the only 
important fresh material at his disposal seems to have been a MS. 
diary in Dr. Watts own writing, entitled "Memorable affairs in my 
life". But this consists only of ten small pages and gives little more 
than the dates of important events up to 1710. He mentions also 
private sources of information, but they do not seem to have 
amounted to very much. 

By far the best biography was published in 1943 by Arthur Paul 
Davis 1 , of Virginia Union University, U.S.A. It has a bibliography 
of over 200 works, showing that Watts has not been neglected, least 
of all in the United States. But if there was any fresh material in 
the possession of Lady Abney giving more personal details of his 
life and conversation during the 36 years he spent under her hospit 
able roof, it has never come to light. 

Yet he lived among great events, and kept in touch with men and 
affairs. His long life snans no less than six reigns, Charles II, 
James II, William and Mary, Anne, George I and George II. John 
Milton died the year he was born. Isaac Newton was two years his 

1 Isaac Watts, His Life and Works, by A. P. Davis. Independent Press. 


junior. He was four when Pilgrim s Progress was published. He 
was seventeen when Richard Baxter died. It was the age of Joseph 
Butler, Samuel Johnson, Pope, Swift and Addison. A typical repre 
sentative of 17th-century dissent, he saw the rise of the Evangelical 
Revival. He was keenly interested in the religious life of New 
England. "In later life", says Dr. Davis, 

he came to know all the leaders of the colony, and his home in 
London became a sort of clearing house for American problems. 
He acted as literary agent for Benjamin Colman, Elisha 
Williams and others; sent books to the libraries of Harvard and 
Yale; collected money for missionary work among the Indians: 
found donors for Harvard; acted as trustee for two of her 
important funds; helped to pick her text books and professors; 
counselled New England s governors; wrote catechisms, hymns, 
and other texts which were used in the New England churches 
and schools; and took part in the Great Awakening Controversy. 
Without a doubt Watts entered as fully into the life of New 
England as any Englishman of his day. 

He carried on a large correspondence with Cotton Mather and 
Jonathan Edwards. He took a leading part in the life of London 
Dissent; many distinguished people visited him at Stoke Newington. 
He was a faithful pastor to his people at Mark Lane. He, was a great 
reader and the author of about a dozen major works on a great 
variety of subjects in addition to his many published sermons and 
essays. The idea that he wrote hymns in his young days, and then 
became a recluse and lived the life of an invalid the rest of his days 
is entirely mistaken, though the actual materials for a biography are 
very scanty. 

The main facts of his life can be briefly told. Born at Southamp 
ton, 17th July, 1674, he was the oldest of the eight children of Isaac 
and Sarah Watts. His father was the son of a naval omcer who 
had served under Blake in Cromwell s fleet. His mother s father, 
Richard Taunton, was an alderman of the city. He was thus 
descended from two well-known and highly respected dissenting 
families. His father was a clothier, who seems also to have kept a 
boarding school. He married Sarah Taunton in 1673. The follow 
ing year he was imprisoned for his nonconformity. The Act of In 
dulgence had been passed in 1672, but the King had been compelled 
to withdraw it and there was a fresh outburst of persecution. 

He was in prison when Isaac was born and there is a reliable tradi 
tion that he was suckled at his mother s breast while she sat on the 
steps of Old Town Gaol on a visit to his father. He was imprisoned 
again nine years later for six months; afterwards he left his family 
and lived privately in London for two years. Young Isaac attended 


the Free School in Southampton. He was a promising lad and 
friends offered to pay for him to go to Oxford or Cambridge, but he 
refused to subscribe the articles of the Anglican Church. In his 
sixteenth year he went to Thomas Rowe s Academy in London. 
Rowe was minister of the Independent Chapel meeting at Girdlers 
Hall, and Watts became a member in 1693. He left the academy in 
1694 and lived with his father in Southampton for over two years. 
It was during this period that he wrote his first hymn. He com 
plained to his father about the dullness of the Psalm-singing at their 
Meeting House; his father told him to try and compose something 
better. Whereupon he wrote "Behold the glories of the Lamb". 
On 15th October, 1696, he left his father s home to go to London as 
tutor to the son of Sir John Hartopp of Stoke Newington, a wealthy 
dissenter and a member of Mark Lane Chapel which, under John 
Owen, had been the leading dissenting meeting in London, but 
which had somewhat declined under Dr. Chauncey. While he was 
with the Hartopps he wrote his Logic, though it was not published 
till 17*24; and The Improvement of the Mind, of which Dr. Johnson 
said: "Few books have been perused by me with greater pleasure". 
He continued his own studies in preparation for the ministry and no 
doubt preached at the evening services held in the Hartopp home on 
the Lord s Day. But he did not preach in public till his twenty- 
fourth birthday, 17th July, 1698. In August of that year he 
returned to his home and preached several times to his own people. 
The following year he became assistant to Dr. Chauncey at Mark 
Lane, but his health broke down soon afterwards and he spent the 
next few months in visits to Southampton, Bath, and Tunbridge 
Wells. Dr. Chauncey resigned in April 1701, but it was not until 
March 1702 that Watts was finally appointed to succeed him. He 
left the Hartopps and lived with Thomas Hollis at the Minories for 
the next eight years. The church grew rapidly under his ministry, 
and in 1703 Samuel Price was appointed his assistant. In 1704 the 
church moved to Pinners Hall, and in 1708 to a new building in Bury 

Watts had by now become a recognized leader in the life of 
London Dissent. In 1706 he had published Hora Lyricce containing 
poems he had written ever since his student days, and including 25 
hymns. The following year he published his Hymns and Spiritual 
Songs, at which he had been working for about 12 years. In 1710 
he left the Minories and went to live with Mr. Bower in Bishopsgate 
Street. He was now working at his Imitations of the Psalms. 

On 26th July, 1712, there appeared in the Spectator Addison s 
rendering of the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord my pasture shall 
prepare", and on 9th August "When all Thy Mercies". Watts 


read them with keen delight and in the issue for 19th August appears 
a letter by him with his version of Psalm 114. "Upon reading the 
hymns which you have published in some late papers", he says, "I 
had a mind to try yesterday whether I could write one. The 114th 
Psalm appears to me an admirable ode, and I began to turn it into 
our language. ... If the following essay is not too incorrigible, 
bestow upon it a few lightenings from your genius, that I may learn 
how to write better, or to write no more". Then follows: "When 
Israel, fled from Pharaoh s hand", as you can find it in Watts 
Psalms with a few alterations. 

In the autumn of 1712 he had a very grave illness, due, it is said, 
to over-work. The illness lasted the whole of 1713, and in the spring 
of 1714 he began to get better and Sir Thomas Abney invited him to 
spend a week at his country seat, Theobalds, near Cheshunt. He 
lived with the Abneys the rest of his life. Sir Thomas died in 1722, 
but Watts continued to live with Lady Abney and her daughter, 
who moved to Abney House, Stoke Newington, in 1736. The illness 
lasted about four years, and during that time he seldom preached. 
But he kept up a regular correspondence with his church on all sorts 
of matters. On 20th November, 1716, at the height of his illness, 
all the London churches observed a day of prayer for his recovery. 
He asked his church to stop his salary, but their only reply was to 
pay his doctor s bills. During his sick leave he sent copies of his 
Guide to Prayer and Divine Songs for Children to the young people 
and children of his congregation. Every child under fifteen was to 
have a copy of the Divine Songs; the kindness of the Abneys, he 
says, made it possible to give "such small presents to themselves and 
their children while I cannot preach". 

For the rest of his life Watts never enjoyed robust health and he 
suffered much from insomnia; but he was no valetudinarian. Think 
only of the books he published after his illness; in 1721 The Art of 
Reading and Writing English; in 1722 The Christian Doctrine of the 
Trinity; in 1726 The Knowledge of the Heavens and the Earth made 
Easy; in 1729 The Doctrine of the Passions; in 1730 A Catechism; in 
1731 The Revival of Practical Religion and The Strength and Weak 
ness of Human Reason; in 1733 Philosophical Essays; in 1739 The 
World to come; in 1740 The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind; in 1747 
The Rational Foundation of a Christian Church; to which must be 
added many sermons and essays. As we have seen, he kept up a 
wide correspondence with the religious leaders of New England; he 
also corresponded with Zinzendorf and the Moravians. He had a 
constant stream of distinguished visitors, including John Wesley, 
George Whitefield, Daniel Neal, William Coward, Philip Doddridge. 
Watts study at Abney House was a veritable mecca for famous 


personalities of his day. It is of all these personal relations that we 
should so much like to know more intimate details. 

His last years were overshadowed by declining health and two 
family disputes which greatly troubled him, in which two nephews 
were involved. In 1738 -he had a stroke which left him in a very 
feeble condition physically and mentally. The close came with 
serenity and calm on 25th November, 1748. His faithful servant 
and secretary, Joseph Parker, was with him to the end. 

The life of Watts thus covers the period between the Declaration 
of Indulgence and the Methodist Revival, which is generally 
regarded as a period of decline and reaction. The evidence is 
impressive. "The Nemesis of Toleration", says Dr. Selbie. "The 
mark of smallness was upon it all", says Dr. Mackennal. "The 
word decadent might be written over most of the Independent 
Churches for the greater part of the 18th century", says Dr. Powicke. 
Even Dr. Dale says: "The mystic element of Congregationalism 
which had created the enthusiasm of the Brownists had almost dis 
appeared . . . the original Congregational idea, which made a Society 
of Saints the very organ of the will of Christ, had lost its hold both 
on imagination and faith". Bernard Manning has done his best to 
answer these charges. This theory, he says, "makes nonsense of 
history and it hides the supreme achievement of 18th-century Con 
gregationalism for the Catholic faith". "If it were true", he asks, 
"why was it that Congregationalism was ready to receive the fire 
from heaven whilst Presbyterianism did not receive it?" He finds 
the answer in the reality of our Church fellowship, and in the 
Liturgy of Congregationalism, especially the hymns of Isaac Watts. 
"To one man, Isaac Watts, we probably owe more than we can 

To this accusation that the story of Congregationalism in the 18th 
century is the story of "a depression after the Toleration Act, an 
inglorious sleep, and then a wakening" we should answer: First, 
that it hardly does justice to what Dr. Mackennal describes as 
"those small communities under the affectionate and unwearied care 
of godly ministers, living lives of great elevation, often of singular 
domestic graciousness and gravity", of which the church over which 
Watts presided at Mark Lane gives us a beautiful example. And 
secondly, that it ignores the fact that while the Revival brought new 
life to all the churches, it was not without the sacrifice of some of the 
great principles for which our fathers stood, which we are now 
seeking to recover, and to recover which we cannot do better than 
study Watts and Doddridge. "I believe", said Dale, "that we have 
some things to learn from the Evangelical Nonconformity which was 
not yet agitated and excited by the fervour of the Revival". I 
believe we can best learn it from Isaac Watts. 


Let us begin with the idea of the Church. "The idea of the 
Church", says Dale, "for which the early Congregationalists cared 
so much that they endured imprisonment, exile, and death in the 
attempt to realize it, was almost swept away by the vehement tide 
of the Evangelical movement". 

Watts idea of the Church can be gathered from three sources: 
(1) The Rationed Foundation and Order of a Christian Church 
(1747), one of his latest works; (2) his relations with his own church 
at Mark Lane; (3) his hymns. 

The Rational Foundation was written at the very close of his life, 
that is, in the full tide of the rationalist movement, and its aim is to 
show that the Congregational idea of the Church is consistent with 
reason and common sense, as well as conforming to the teaching of 
Christ. We shall not look here, therefore, for the mystical doctrine 
of the Church, and we shall not find it. There is no disparagement 
of natural religion in Watts. 

As revealed religion in general acknowledges natural religion 
for 1 its foundation, so all the parts of social as well as personal 
religion ... so far as they are revealed and prescribed in the 
work of God, are still founded on principles of natural light and 

In matters that relate to the constitution and government of 
Christian Churches, whose chief origin and design is to hold 
forth and maintain our religion publicly and visibly in this 
world, I am not afraid to say there is a most happy correspond 
ency and similarity between the dictates of light and nature, 
and the prescriptions of the New Testament, almost all the way. 
The light of reason teaches us that several persons who pro 
fess the same religion must sometimes meet together, to celebrate 
the solemnities, rites, and ordinances thereof, and to worship 
God according to the rules of it. 

When the religion is professed by great multitudes they cannot all 
meet in one place, it is necessary therefore that they should be 
separated into distinct societies. There must be sufficient agreement 
among them as to the essentials of their religion. "The acts of 
religion must be all free and voluntary". All persons are not 
equally capable of leading public worship; "reason dictates that one 
or more persons should be chosen to celebrate the sacred rites of 
this religion . How large may a Church be ? 

All the Christians in the world are sometimes called the 
Church; so all who are in one city may be called the Church of 
that city; the Christians in one house may be called the Church 
in that house; and yet I believe it will be found that a Christian 
Church in its more usual form was made up of so many as could 


conveniently meet together for worship and consented to do so, 
and the reason of things seems to make this most convenient for 
many purposes of edification and mutual help. 

In all these matters we must be guided by the light of reason. 
Thus, the churches in a county or district may agree to send their 
ministers to consult together about their common welfare. They 
may choose one person to represent them and give him the name of 
overseer, or superintendent, or bishop. All the churches in a nation 
may choose a president and call him- their archbishop. "I see 
nothing unlawful in all this, so neither do I see any ordinary necessity 
for it". \ 

Here is the rationalism of the 18th century, the "religion of all 
sensible men". There is little here of that august conception of the 
Church for which, as Dale says, our fathers were willing to suffer 
and to die. A deeper note is struck in "The terms of Christian 
Communion" which follows the essay on the Rational Foundation. 
Christian communion is denned as "that fellowship which Christians 
have with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, and with one 
another". The visible fellowship consists chiefly in the participation 
of the ordinances of the Gospel, especially Baptism and the Lord s 

"Baptism is an ordinance appointed by Christ, for our entrance 
into the visible Church". The Lord s Supper is an ordinance 
appointed by Christ after we have entered into the Church, "for the 
assistance and increase of our faith, hope, our comfort and holiness". 

The Church must consist of real Christians, but Christians and 
Churches not being able to search the heart as Christ and conscience 
can, the terms of our visible communion is a "credible profession of 
real Christianity". "There will be hypocrites in the Church of 
Christ in this world, and there is no help for it; the wheat and tares 
will grow together in the same field till the time of harvest ... all 
that have the credible forms and appearance of Christianity must be 
admitted into the Church of Christ on earth". But what is meant 
by a credible profession? Three things are necessary. (1) A con 
fession of all the necessary articles of the Christian religion. (2) A 
professed subjection to all the necessary rules of Christian duty. 
(3) Such a blameless and holy practice in life as may make the pro 
fession of this life appear in the common judgment of men to be the 
sincere sense of the heart. But is there to be no test of orthodoxy? 
Suppose a socinian, a pelagian, or an antinomian, should seek 
admission ? 

Those who believe not the necessary fundamental, and 
essential doctrines of the Christian religion cannot properly be 


called true Christians, whatsoever general profession they may 
make of believing the truth, and being disciples of Christ. 
Therefore such are not to be received. For God in His revealed 
word has not told us to receive all that are sincere, but all that 
believe or have received Christ, and in this case I know no judge 
on earth superior to the Church with which communion is 
desired, and the officers thereof. 

In what words must the faith be professed? The best medium I 
can find for all the purposes of peace and truth is that every man 
should confess his faith in his own words . Finally he asks 

whether all sorts of Protestants may join together as members of 
the same Church? I answer: (1) It is impossible and they 
cannot. (2) It is unlawful, and they ought not. (3) If it were 
possible and lawful, yet it is highly inexpedient and therefore it 
should not be done. 

Watts became assistant to Dr. Chauncey at Mark Lane in 1689. 
Chauncey resigned in April 1701. It was not until January of the 
following year that Watts was called to succeed him. The delay was 
due partly to the indecision of the church. They sent a call to 
Thomas Bradbury, who put them off with indefinite replies. But 
the main reason was the state of Watts health. He at first refused 
on this ground. But he sent a long statement to the church stating 
his views of church order and discipline. This statement was read 
in his church and the call was renewed and finally accepted. It is to 
this statement that we must look for his considered views, in his 
prime, in regard to the idea of the Church. We must be content 
with a summary of the more important points. 

Jesus Christ, the King of Saints, has given command and 
power to his saints, to form themselves into spiritual societies 
and corporations, for his public glory and their own edification. 
Every society of saints, covenanting to walk with God and 
one another in all the rules and institutions of the Gospel is a 
Church of Christ. Every such Church has power to increase its 
own numbers by the addition of members, or to purge itself of 
corrupt members, before it be organized and made complete by 
having fixed officers among them. 

The members of such an incomplete Church, before any 
pastor is settled among them, may pray together, and exhort 
one another; yet this Church has not power in itself to administer 
all ordinances among them. 

Though the pastor be named and chosen by the people, yet 
his commission and power to administer all divine ordinances 
is not derived from the people, for they had not this power in 
themselves, but it proceeds from the Lord Jesus Christ, who is 
the only King of his Church, and the principle of all power. 


Pastoral acts are not performed in the name of the people, but in the 
name, stead, and place of Christ, by the pastor as his representative 
in that Church, and as his ambassador to it. Even so, "they are not 
bound to submit blindly to the government of the pastor, unless he 
approve himself therein to act according to the mind and will of 
Christ in his word". Finally: "In the management of every affair 
in the Church, there ought to be a spirit of gentleness, meekness, 
lowliness of mind, care, affection and tenderness, both in the pastor 
and people, towards each other". The rational foundation remains 
but upon it he builds a much loftier conception of the Church as the 
body of Christ. 

When we turn to the hymns there is surprisingly little about the 
Church itself as the fellowship of believers, but in hymn after hymn 
he sings with lyrical passion of the privileges of the sanctuary and 
the glory of public worship. 

One privilege my heart desires : 

O grant me an abode 
Among the Churches of Thy saints, 

The temples of my God ! 

There shall I offer my requests, 

And see Thy beauty still ; 
Shall hear Thy messages of love, 
And there inquire Thy will. Ps. 27. 

He does not so often sing the glories of the fellowship : 
The saints on earth, and all the dead 

But one communion make; 
All join in Christ, their living head 
And of his grace partake. 

In such society as this 

My weary sould would rest; 
The man that dwells where Jesus is, 

Must be for ever bless d. 

Many of us feel today that while the vitality of the local fellowship 
of believers is our great contribution to the Catholic Church, it does 
not exhaust all that God means His Church to be. But in any 
greater Church which comes to be, the local fellowship must be 
conserved, and its vitality and power are nowhere more beautifully 
expressed than in the writings and hymns of Isaac Watts. We may 
see in the fulfilment of this vision the answer to his prayer for the 
garden of the Lord : "Make our best spices flow abroad". 

We may turn next to Watts on the Bible. Dr. Fowicke speaks of 
"that characteristic Puritan reverence , for the letter of scripture 


which, in Owen s case, was carried to the point of bibliolatry". He 
quotes Owen as saying that the writings of the Old and New Testa 
ment were immediately given out by God Himself by mediums 
incapable of altering them in the least iota or syllable. This is the 
plenary and verbal inspiration of Scripture which we associate with 
the Evangelicals of a certain school. It was not the view of Watts. 
"It is generally agreed by Protestant writers, that not the words of 
Scripture but the sense of it is properly Scripture. The words are 
but the shell in which the divine ideas are conveyed to the mind". 
A student in divinity should not imagine that our age "is arrived at 
a full understanding of everything which can be known by the 
Scriptures. . . . Why may not a sincere searcher of truths in the 
present age, by labour, diligence, study and prayer, with the best 
use of his reasoning powers, find out the proper solution of those 
knots and perplexities which have hitherto been unsolved?" We 
are indeed to believe what has been inspired by God, 

but if these pretended dictates are directly contrary to the 
natural faculties of understanding and reason which God has 
given us, we may be well assured these dictates were never 
revealed by God himself. . . . To tell us we must believe a pro 
position which is plainly contrary to reason, is to tell us that we 
must believe two ideas are joined while we plainly see and know 
them to be disjoined. 

When persons are influenced by authority to believe pretended 
mysteries in plain opposition to reason, and yet pretend reason 
for what they believe, that is but a vain amusement. 
In his exaltation of reason Watts is, of course, a child of his age, 
but he stands too in the tradition that emphasizes intellect rather 
than emotion, which distinguishes the best type of Puritan from the 
Evangelicals of a later period. 

How far did Watts adhere to the stern asceticism of the Puritans? 
The fact is that it was the Evangelicals who revived the more ex 
treme features of a certain type of Puritanism. Isaac Watts was 
more broadminded. "You say", he writes in his Education of 
Youth, "must we look like old Puritans? Must we look like nobody? 
No, I am not persuading you to return to the habit and guise of your 
ancestors. . . . But there are some things in which you must dare to 
be singular, if you would be Christians". As regarding the theatre, 
he says: "A dramatic representation of the affairs of human life is 
by no means sinful in itself. . . . But the comedies which appear on 
our stage, and most of the tragedies too, have no design to set 
religion or virtue in its best light, nor to render vice odious to the 
spectator". As to dancing: "I confess that I know no evil in it. 
This is a healthful exercise and it gives young persons a decent 
manner of appearance in company". He recommends fencing and 


riding as healthy exercises. Sport and recreation play an important 
part in a child s training. "Human nature, especially in younger 
years, cannot be constantly kept intent on work, learning, or labour. 
There must be some intervals of pleasure to give a loose to the mind, 
or to refresh the natural spirits". He condemns all cruel sports such 
as cock-fighting, lingering deaths to dogs and cats, and mangling 
of young birds. But "the rules of religion do not so restrain us from 
the common entertainments of life as to render us melancholy 
creatures and unfit for company. There is no need to become 
mopes pr hermits, in order to be Christians". 

He recommends draughts and chess as innocent games. Cards 
and dice are not unlawful in the nature of the game, but they 
generally go with gambling. He is severe about the gaming table. 
"Can you pray to win, when your neighbour must lose?" Draw 
ing and painting is "a noble diversion and improves the mind". He 
is said to have had some skill himself in the use of pencil and brush. 
As to music, "various harmony both of the wind and string was once 
in use in divine worship, and that by divine appointment. It is 
certain then that the use of these instruments in common life is no 
unlawful practice, though the New Testament has not ordained the 
use of it in Evangelical worship". But the voice is "an organ 
formed and tuned by God Himself" and singing should be 

In a sermon on "Whatsoever things are honourable", which he 
translates "grave", he has much to say of "gravity" as becoming a 
Christian. But "we are not bound to banish mirth when we become 
Christians. . . . The wise man assures us, there is a time to laugh as 
well as to mourn. There are times proper for weeping, and some 
persons may have times for dancing too. . . . We may be merry and 
not sin". 

How far was Watts a Calvinist in his theology ? 

Behold the potter and the clay 

He forms his vessels as he please ; 
Such is our God, and such are we 

The subjects of his high decrees. 
May not the sovereign Lord on high 

Dispense his favours as he will ? 
Choose some to life, while others die 

And yet be just and gracious still. 

That is the nearest he comes to high Calvinism. But Watts is also 
much influenced by 18th-century rationalism and there is a tension 
between the rigid doctrines of Calvinism and what his reason 
demands of the Justice of God. "In explaining some of the Calvin- 


istic dogmas through the light of reason", says Dr. A. P. Davis, 
"he succeeds in explaining them away". 

Watts says that Calvin himself in his commentaries has moved 
away from the "rigid and narrow limitations of grace" in the 
Institutes. The commentaries, he says, are the "labours of his riper 
years and maturer judgement". Halevy says of the hyper-Calvinism 
of the sects: "If Salvation is the gratuitous gift of God, and of God 
alone, it is not permitted to a man to convert his fellow men". 
Watts is full of Evangelical passion in his preaching. 

Thou poor trembling soul that wouldst fain trust in a Saviour, 
but thou art afraid, because of the greatness of thy guilt and 
thine abounding iniquities; believe this, that where sin has 
abounded grace has much more abounded; it is from the bring 
ing such sinners as thou art to heaven, that the choicest revenues 
of glory shall arise to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

It is not the great business of a preacher of the Gospel only to 
please the few, but to become all things to all men, and if pos 
sible, to win a multitude of souls to Christ. 
And also in his hymns: 

The guilty wretch that trusts Thy blood, 

Finds peace and pardon at the Cross. 

* * * 

Let every mortal ear attend, 

And every heart rejoice; 
The trumpet of the gospel sounds 

With an inviting voice. 

Rivers of love and mercy here 

In a rich ocean join, 
Salvation in abundance flows, 

Like floods of milk and wine. 

The happy gates of gospel grace 

Stand open night and day; 
Lord, we are come to seek supplies, 

And drive our wants away. 

# * * 

Come all ye vilest sinners, come, 

He ll form your souls anew; 
His gospel and His heart have room 

For sinners such as you. 

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the first of our 
great Missionary Societies, was founded in 1701. Watts nowhere 
directly advocates the sending out of missionaries to the heathen. 
But he bids us pray for them. 

Pity and pray for the heathen world, the dark corners of the 
earth, the unlighted nations where the sun of Righteousness 


never rose, where they can but feel after God through the mists 
of ignorance and error. . . . Now then, O Christians, send a 
pathetic sigh over the nations, lift up one compassionate groan 
to -heaven for them, and say, When shall the day come O Lord 
that the heathen shall become Thy worshippers, and Assyria 
and Ethiopia Thy people ? 

And after all, he gave us our greatest missionary hymn, "Jesus 
shall reign". 

Watts was a great Evangelical preacher. To preachers he said: 
Let all the warmest zeal for God and compassion for perish 
ing man animate your voice and countenance, and let the people 
see and feel, as well as hear, that you are speaking to them 
about things of infinite moment, and in which your own eternal 
interest lies as well as theirs. 

Ask old Mr. Wheatfield the rich farmer; ask Plowdon your 
neighbour or any of his family who have sat all their lives under 
your ministry, what they know of the common truths of 
religion, or of the special articles of Christianity. Desire them 
to tell you what the Gospel is, and what is salvation. 
There is surely a touch of self-criticism in his description of a 
preacher who comes down from the pulpit after a learned discourse 
as a man ashamed and quite out of countenance; he has blushed 
and complained to his intimate friends that he should be thought 
to have preached himself and not Christ Jesus his Lord. He 
has been so ready to wish he had entertained his audience in a 
more unlearned manner, and on a more vulgar subject, lest the 
servants and labourers and tradesmen there, should reap no 
advantage to their souls. . . . Well he knows that the middle and 
lower ranks of mankind, and people of an unlettered character, 
make up the greater part of the assembly. 

He has some trenchant criticism of certain types of preaching in 
his day. There is Fluvio, whose language 

flows smoothly in a long connection of periods, and glides on the 
ear like a rivulet of oil over polished marble, and like that too 
leaves no trace behind it. 

Can you make the arrow wound when it will not stick ? 
When you brush over the closed eyelids with a feather, did 
you ever find it give light to the blind ? 

I have heard it hinted that the Name of Christ has been 
banished out of polite sermons, because it is a monosyllable/of 
so many consonants and so harsh to sound. 

It was on the ethical side that Dale thought the Evangelical 
Movement was weak : 

The great aim of the Revival was to rescue men from eternal 
perdition. . . . They were dragging men from a burning house; 

2 * 


they were landing them from a sinking ship; when their converts 
were beyond the reach of the devouring flames and the raging 
sea, their great work was done. 

Watts preached as firmly as any revivalist to save men from hell, 
but some of his finest discourses are on the moral virtues that should 
adorn a Christian character. "With great labour", says Dale, "the 
Evangelicals laid foundations, but they were unable to build on 
them". Watts lays the same foundations, but he builds on them. 
There is a great series of sermons on Paul s "Whatsoever things" in 
which he extols the virtues of a Christian life. How beautiful is this 
on humility, "that lovely virtue" : 

It is a lovely sight to see a man of shining worth, drawing as 
it were a curtain before -himself, that the world might not see 
him, while the world do what they can to do him justice and 
draw aside the veil to make his merit visible. 
Or this upon the treatment of servants : 

I am in pain whensoever I hear a man treat his servants as he 
does his dog; as though a poor man were not made of the same 
clay, or were of the same ancient race, as his master. 

Is it not a very desirable thing to have it said of any particular 
Christian, all that know him love him; he hath no enemies unless 
it be such as hate him upon the same ground as the devil doth, 
because of his piety and goodness. 
And this of charity : 

Charity is a grace of that alluring sweetness, that my pen 

would fain be attempting to say something in favour of it. I 

find a strange pleasure in discoursing of this virtue, hoping 

that my very soul may be moulded into its divine likeness. I 

would always feel it inwardly warming my heart. I would 

have it look through my eyes continually, and it should be ever 

ready upon my lips to soften every expression of my tongue. I 

would dress myself in it as my best garment. I would put in 

upon my faith and hope, not so entirely to hide them, but as an 

upper and more visible vesture, constantly to appear in among 

men. For our Christian charity is to evidence our other virtues. 

But Watts never forgets the distinction between the ethical virtues 

and the fruits of grace. There is one passage which reminds us of 

Newman s famous description of a gentleman. He is preaching on 

the rich young ruler. 

We are pleased and charmed with your conversation, whose 
manners are polished, and whose language is refined from the 
rude and vulgar ways of speech. You know how to speak civil 
things, without flattery, upon all occasions; to instruct without 
assuming a superior air, and to reprove without a frown or 
forbidding countenance.. You have learned when to speak and 


when to be silent, and to perform every act of life with the 
proper graces. Can you be content with all this good breeding 
to be thrust down to hell ? 

Watts had a profound belief in hell. There are few passages more 
characteristic and more moving than in the Preface to The World 
to Come in which we see the "gentle Watts" trying to evade the 
awful truth he was compelled to believe. 

When I pursue my inquiries into this doctrine only by the aid 
of the light of nature and reason, I fear my natural tenderness 
might warp me aside from the rules and demands of strict 
justice, and the wise and holy government of the great God. 
... I am constrained to forget or to lay aside that softness and 
tenderness of animal nature which might lead me astray and 
to follow the unerring dictates of the word of God. 
Watts own attitude to the Evangelical Revival was cautious but 
friendly. We have more evidence of what Wesley thought of Watts 
than of Watts opinion of Wesley. John Wesley refers in his Journal 
to his visit to Watts on 4th October, 1738. Charles Wesley was also 
present. They walked and talked and sang hymns. "It was an 
interesting occasion in the field of <hymnody", says Dr. Davis, "the 
three greatest English hymn writers joining their voices in song". 
The Wesleys had used Warts hymns in the early days of the Holy 
Club in Oxford. John Wesley s first hymn book, the Collection of 
Psalms and Hymns (1737), contained 70 hymns, of which over a 
third were by Watts. Writing in 1765 Wesley described Watts as 
one of the Children of God and expressed pleasure that Watts had 
not been against him. Watts said of "Come O thou traveller un 
known" that it was worth all the verses he himself had written. 
But he wrote to Benjamin Colman that the Methodists had growfi 
into "some odd opinions". He said he had discussed with White- 
field "the strange unscriptural and enthusiastic notions" of the 

Watts saw much more of Whitefield than of the Wesleys, and he 
was often asked his opinion of him. He writes to the Bishop of 
London that Whitefield had visited him and had confessed that he 
felt divinely inspired but "could give no proof of it". "I said 
many things to warn him of the danger of delusion, and to guard 
him against the irregularities and imprudences which youth and zeal 
might lead him into, and told him plainly, that although I believed 
him very sincere and desirous to do good to souls, yet I was not 
convinced of any extraordinary call he had to some parts of his 
conduct". This was in 1739 when Whitefield was only 24. Dr. 
Davis quotes letters written by Watts to Benjamin Colman between 
1723 and 1748 and published by the Massachusetts Historical 
Society, which contain very interesting references to Whitefield. 


He said that Whitefield was far more popular than the Wesleys 
and that he had told the young man to "go on and prosper". He 
gave him money for an orphanage in Georgia. Whitefield discussed 
with him, while he was still a member of the Church of England, 
whether he should join the Dissenters, but Watts told him he could 
do greater service within the Church than he could in Dissent. Later 
he writes that "His narrow zeal for the Church of England as a 
party, and some imprudences, made him less acceptable here than 
in the beginning of his public preaching. ... I must confess also 
there are several of us who rather despise than honour him; our 
sentiments about him are different". But later he writes: "I think 
he has been wonderfully assisted and greatly honoured by God as 
an instrument to call home souls by Jesus Christ the Saviour". He 
rebukes Doddridge, however, for preaching at Whitefield s Tabernacle 
"sinking the character of a minister". Thus Watts seems to have 
held an intermediate position between Doddridge s active approval 
of the movement and the hostile criticism more often heard in dis 
senting circles. He kept his eye on Whitefield and disapproved of 
many of his ways, but he did not hesitate to approve his endeavour 
to "call home souls by Jesus Christ the Saviour". 

"Watts sermons, poems, essays, and hymns", says Dr. Davis, 
"all contributed to the making of the religious temper from which 
sprang the Methodist revival. As a precursor of the movement he 
influenced its then great leaders, Wesley, Whitefield and Edwards. 
Through Watts the Evangelical tendencies inherent in 17th-Century 
Puritanism were transmitted to the new Puritanism of the 18th 
Century". Bernard Manning emphasizes that the Independents 
were ready for the Revival when it came. May we not put it even 
stronger and say that they kept the fire burning on the altar at which 
Wesley kindled his torch? But as Dale points out, there was loss 
as well as gain. If we wisih to recover those vital elements of early 
Dissent which were submerged by the Evangelical Revival we cannot 
do better than study Isaac Watts. Here we find that high church- 
manship which is our great tradition. Here we find that respect for 
reason and tremendous emphasis on education which are character 
istics of Puritanism at its best. Here we find a conception of the 
minister as the organ of the priesthood of all believers which was 
largely lost in the lay-preaching of the Evangelical movement. Here 
we find respect for culture and appreciation of the arts which one 
does not associate with Evangelicalism. Above all, -here we find a 
typical example of Puritan piety. If we are to "own Him greatest 
in His saints", there are few men more worthy of our honour than 
the gentle Watts, who was not only "the first Englishman who set 
the Gospel to music", but adorned the doctrine in a life of singular 
piety and grace. K. L. PARRY. 

The Imprisonments of John Bunyan 

FROM their association with the writing of Pilgrim s Progress, 
the imprisonments of John Bunyan have always aroused 
interest. The late Dr. John Brown s Life of Bunyan, revised 
for the tercentenary by the late F. Mott Harrison, remains the 
standard work 1 ; while an article by the late W. T. Whitley 2 in the 
Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society dealt in detail with this 
point. In recent years a little more evidence relating to the 
imprisonments has come to light 3 , and this evidence it is the object 
of the present article to examine. 

It may be well to recapitulate the position as it stands. So far as 
is known, nothing came of "the indictment against brother Bunyan 
at the assizes" in 1657-8 4 . The first term of imprisonment, then, 
which was in the county gaol, began in 1660. Bunyan was indicted 
at Quarter Sessions under the Elizabethan law 5 against conventicles, 
by which any person absenting himself from his parish church for a 
month might be committed to prison until he conformed. Because 
he refused to plead, the court ruled that he had confessed, and 
recorded his conviction. Though more than one source of slightly 
later date indicates a definite break in 1666 in Bunyan s imprison 
ment ("he continued about six years and then was let out ... a little 
after his release they took him again at a meeting, and put him in 
the same gaol where he lay six years more" 6 ), yet contemporary 

1 John Brown, John Bunyan, his life, times and work (tercent. ed., rev. 
by Frank Mott Harrison, 1928). 

2 W. T. Whitley, Bunyan s imprisonments (Trans, of the Bapt. Hist. Soc., 
vi, 1-24; 1918-19). 

3 This article is a small tribute to the memory of the late Frederick Gurney, 
who in 1944 drew the writer s attention to the bond (discussed below) in the 
possession of the Bucks. Archaeological Society. He was then preparing an 
article on it, but its completion was prevented by his death. His brother, 
Mr. E. T. Gurney, put his material at the disposal of the Bucks. Archaeo- 
logi al Society, who generously allowed the writer to use it and to publish 
the bond, the importance of which had been previously noted also by the 
late Edwin Hollis, Curator at Aylesbury. To the Bucks. Archaeological 
Society and to Mr. E. T. Gurney the writer is much indebted for permission 
to try to complete Mr. Gurney s work. 

4 The Church Book of Bunyan Meeting, ed. G. B. Harrison, p. 20; cited 
Brown, p. 113. References in this article to older works are usually given 
to the r citation in Brown, tercent. ed., as the most convenient work of 

5 35 Eliz. c. 1. 

6 Doe s letter to the Christian Reader, preceding his alphabetical table, 
in The Works . . . of John Bunyan . . . with a large alphabetical table [by 
Charles Doe], 1692, cited Brown, p. 173. 


evidence seems to indicate that there was no real break, followed by 
a fresh conviction; for the Clerk of the Peace for Bedfordshire, Paul 
Cobb, wrote in 1670 to Roger Kenyon, Clerk of the Peace for 
Lancashire, "one Bonyon was indicted upon the Statute of 35 
Elizabeth . . . and because he refused to plead to it, the Court 
ordered me to record his confession, and he hath lain in prison upon 
that conviction ever since Christmas Sessions, 12 Chas. II" 7 . Any 
release in 1666 therefore appears to have been temporary and 
irregular. The circumstances of Bunyan s eventual release, license 
to teach and formal pardon, all in 1672, nave already been 
discussed 8 . We are left then with a period of 12 years imprisonment, 
1660-72, during which varying degrees of lenience were shown to 
Bunyan by his gaolers. 

The second imprisonment, which tradition has placed in the town 
gaol on the bridge, again in later sources is said to have lasted six 
months ("they put him in prison a third time, but that proved but 
for about half a year" 9 ). It has been generally agreed that, because 
of damage to this gaol, not ordered to be repaired till the spring of 
1675, the imprisonment was subsequent to this date; whereas it 
preceded the publication of Pilgrim s Progress (registered at 
Stationers Hall in December 1677). Dr. Brown, writing in 1885, 
placed this short imprisonment in 1675-6, and described the part 
played by Dr. Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln, in effecting Bunyan s 
release 10 . The subsequent discovery of a warrant for Bunyan s 
arrest, dated 4th March, 1674-5, first published in 1887 11 , has had 
two interpretations. Thorpe and Harrison opined that this was the 
warrant which led to the imprisonment in question 12 . Whitley, on 
the other hand, pointed out that the warrant referred to teaching at 
a conventicle; that the Conventicle Act of 1670 imposed only fines, 
not imprisonment, and that inability to pay the fine would have led, 
at the hands of county justices, to imprisonment in the county, not 
the town, gaol. He therefore held that this warrant had nothing to 
do with Bunyan s imprisonment, which must have been due to 
excommunication by the Bishop of Lincoln, and he regretted "that 

7 Hist. MSS. Comm., 14th Report, App. Pt. iv, Kenyon MSS., p. 86; first 
cited Whitley, p. 5. This report prints "Benyon", but it is clear that the 
reference is to Bunyan in the frequent contemporary spelling "Bonyon". 

8 Brown, pp. 176-8; Whitley, 16-19; but see also note on p. 137 in the same 
volume of Transactions. 

9 Doe, loc. cit. 

10 Asty, Life of Owen, cited Brown, pp. 241-2. 

11 W. G. Thorpe, in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, 2nd Ser., 
xii, 11-17. 

12 Thorpe, loc. cit.; Brown, p. 266 (addition by Harrison). 


no document is discoverable to verify the statement" 13 . That 
document is now to hand. 

This article proposes (1) a somewhat closer analysis of 17th-century 
assize records 14 which have recently come to light, and of which 
some are now in print; and the consideration of (2) the "transmissio 
processus in visitacionibus archidiaconalibus" forwarded by the 
Archdeacon of Bedford to the Bishop of Lincoln and preserved 
among the diocesan archives 15 ; and (3) of a copy of a bond relating 
to Bunyan s release, in the Aylesbury Museum 16 . The first relates to 
the first imprisonment; the two latter to the second. 

lit has always been a matter of regret that no records of the Bed 
fordshire Quarter Sessions survive for the period of Bunyan s 
imprisonment. When Brown, Whitley and Harrison wrote, neither 
were assize records known for the old Norfolk circuit for this date. 
In 1934 many of these latter were discovered. A number of them 
(whether this includes all that came to light cannot be said with 
certainty) are now in the Public Record Office and the Bedford 
County Record Office. Unfortunately these documents do not in 
clude minute-books, or a complete record of the proceedings of the 
assizes for any one of the years in question. They do, however, 
include for certain of the assizes the nomina ministrorum (a parch 
ment membrane handed to the judge on which appear, in addition 
to the names of local dignitaries and officers, the names of prisoners 
at the bar), and the calendar of prisoners in gaol. There were thus 
for each assize two documents listing prisoners; and as there were 
two assizes each year, winter and summer, there must originally 
have been 48 such documents. Of these, 16 (8 of each) are now 
known to exist; four of them are in print. 

Of the 8 lists of prisoners at the bar, 5 include the name of John 
Bunyan (1662 winter, 1665 summer, 1668 winter and summer, 1669 
winter), and 3 do not (1662 summer, 1670 winter, 1671 winter); of 

13 Whitley, p. 23. 

H P.R.O. Assizes 16/15, 19; Bedford County Record Office, H.S.A. 
(various numbers). Some of those now at Bedford were among the select 
examples printed by W. M. Wigfield, Recusancy and Nonconformity in 
Bedfordshire, Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc., xx, 145-229. Two of the documents 
bearing Bunyan s name and now at Bedford were purchased in 1948 by 
public subscrip!^on as the result of an appeal by Major Simon Whitbread 
(the chief subscribers being the four surviving children of Dr. John Brown : 
Mrs. J. N. Keynes, Mrs. A. H. Lloyd, Mr. J. Harold Brown and Mr.. E. 
Kenneth Brown); and one was deposited by Mr. W. N. Henman. 

15 In the care of the Lincolnshire Archives Committee, incorporating the 
Lincoln Diocesan Record Office (ref. no. Viv/1). 


16 Aylesbury Museum MS. , folios 104v, 105. 



the 8 calendars of prisoners in the -gaol, 5 include the name of John 
Bunyan (1667 winter, 1668 winter and summer, 1669 winter, 1672 
winter) and 3 do not (1666 summer, 1670 winter, 1671 winter). On 
the first three of these there is written opposite Bunyan s name "for 
misdemeanor"; on the fourth (1669 winter) "convicted upon the 
statute of 35 Eliz. for conventicles"; and on the fifth (1672 winter), 
this time an addition in another hand, " for nonconform ". 

What inference is to be drawn from these lists ? 17 The number of 
prisoners varies from 7 (1669 winter) to 17 (1672 winter), when the 
numbers had been swollen by the addition of six persons "on a 
significavit" . It does not therefore seem that all prisoners in the 
gaol appeared on the list, but only those who were to be tried, or 
whose cases were expected to come up in some form. It seems clear 
that at first the Clerk of the Peace and the local justices were anxious 
to prevent Bunyan from bringing his case (which in their view was 
decided by proper sentence passed at Quarter Sessions) to the notice 
of the judge of assize. "I desired my Jailor to put my name into 
the kalender . . . yet the Justices and the Clerk of the peace did so 
work it about that I, notwithstanding, was defered and might not 
appear". The Clerk of the Peace, Bunyan explains, came to the 
jailor, and "told him that I must not go before the Judge and there 
fore must not be put into the kalender; to whom my Jailor said, 
that my name was in already. He bid him put me out again; my 
Jailor told him that he could not : For he had given the Judge a 
kalender with my name in it. . . .At which he was very much dis 
pleased . . . and run to the Clerk of the assises . . . and thus was I 
hindered and prevented at that time also from appearing before the 

Yet this did not obtain for the whole period of Bunyan s 
imprisonment. This same Clerk of the Peace wrote in 1670, 
"Bonyon hath petitioned all the Judges of Assize as they came the 
Circuit, but could never be released" 19 . The ebb and flow of events 
during these twelve years have been traced both by Brown and 
Whitley the passing of the Conventicle Act in 1664, its lapse in 
1668, the new Conventicle Act in 1670, the Declaration of Indulgence 
in 1672. Is the appearance of Bunyan s name on all six existing 
lists for 1668 and 1669 due to renewed hope at the lapse of the first 
Conventicle Act? To attempt to draw precise conclusions from each 
list might be to put on the limited evidence more strain than it will 

17 I am indebted to Prof. T. F. T. Plucknett, Professor of Legal History 
in the University of London, for his advice on this point. 

18 A relation of the imprisonment of Mr. John Bunyan, 1765, pp. 50-52. 

19 See note 7. 


bear. It is, however, clear that ten out of the sixteen surviving lists 
show Bunyan as in gaol and actively bringing his case before the 
Judge of Assize. 

The first imprisonment, it has always been agreed, was due to 
Bunyan s being in conflict with the secular (as opposed to the 
ecclesiastical) jurisdiction. The warrant of 4th March, 1674 /5 20 , 
again comes from the secular authority; it is signed by county jus 
tices of the peace. But did this lead to imprisonment? It states 
that Bunyan "hath divers times within one Month last past in con 
tempt of his Majestie s good Lawes preached or teached at a 
Conventicle meeting", presumably in the county. The penalties for 
such preaching, under the Conventicle Act of 1670 21 , were a fine of 
20 for the first offence, 40 for the second. Bunyan would once 
more be brought before the county Quarter Sessions. It is, again, 
exceedingly unfortunate that we have not the records for Bedford 
shire Quarter Sessions. We know, however, that Nehemiah Cox, 
preacher when members of Bunyan Meeting were arrested and 
brought before Bedford Borough Quarter Sessions in 1670, was 
fined 22 . We can also tell from the published Quarter Sessions records 
of some other counties how offences under this Act were dealt with 
there 23 . Those of Warwickshire 24 and Hertfordshire 25 show the 
smaller fines inflicted on worshippers. In the more populous county 
of Middlesex we see more of the effect on preachers. Fines for the 
statutory amounts are to be found in the Middlesex county records 26 , 
which at this period yield the names of no fewer than 72 preachers 
at conventicles who have "taken upon themselves to preach and 
teach". Did this warrant against Bunyan take effect? Of that we 
have no proof, but since William Foster s name in his capacity of a 
justice of the peace for the county appears on it, and since he may 
have been the originator of it 27 , it seems likely that it did. If it did, 

20 Several times reproduced in facsimile; see, e.g., Brown, facing p. 266. 

21 22 Car II, c. 1. 

22 Wigfield, op. cit., 180, 183. 

23 See Lines. Rec. Soc., xxv (Minutes of Proceedings of Quarter Sessions, 
Kesteven, 1674-95), introduction by S. A. Peyton, for a useful general 
discussion of this point. 

24 Warwick County Records, v, vi (Sessions Order Book, 1665-74; Sessions 
Indictment Book, 1631-74). 

25 Hertford County Records, i (Sessions Rolls, 1581-1698). 

26 Middlesex County Records, iv, 165-168, 363-5 (Rolls, Books and Certi 
ficates, 1667-88). 

27 F. G. Emmison, The writer of the warrant for the arrest of John 
Bunyan, Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc., xii, 97-8. 


then a fine was probably imposed on Bunyan. If he could not raise 
the money, he made himself liable to imprisonment, but in the 
county, not the town, gaol. The conclusion seems to be, therefore, 
either that the warrant was served and the fine probably imposed, 
and, if enforced, presumably paid; or that Bunyan was warned and 
kept in retirement for a period so that the warrant was never served. 
This would explain the phrase, noted by Brown 28 , in Instruction for 
the Ignorant, published in the same year: "being driven from you 
in presence, not in affection". Brown has also noted the fewness of 
entries in the Church Book between 1674 and 1678 29 . 

We come then to the second imprisonment. Here it must be 
emphasized that, at the same time as the justices of the peace through 
Quarter Sessions were endeavouring to enforce the Conventicle Act, 
the Church retained her ancient method of dealing with those who, 
in her view, were offenders, i.e. by excommunication, which in cer 
tain circumstances could be followed by imprisonment 30 . Bishop 
Barlow s intervention, already described by Brown, gave strong 
indication that the initiative for this second imprisonment of 
Bunyan s came not from the secular but from the ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction. Since the surviving Archdeaconry record for the period 
1674-77 is a Liber Instancium and not a visitation book, it throws 
no light on the point. It does not seem to have been previously 
noted, however, that Dr. Foster, Commissary and Official, and 
William Johnson, Deputy Registrar, on 10th April, 1675, -trans 
mitted to the Bishop of Lincoln a 34-page volume giving details of 
the proceedings at the visitation of the Archdeaconry of Bedford in 
1674. On page 4 it is reported that "John Bunnion, tinckar" of the 
town of Bedford, stands excommunicated, having been presented 
by the churchwardens for refusing to come to church and receive the 
sacrament. At some time then previous to 1674 John Bunyan had 
been excommunicated. How long would elapse after this before 
further action was taken is uncertain; the evidence of a book of 
episcopal and archidiaconal visitations for the archdeaconry of Lin 
coln, 1671-2, suggests that people might be presented as standing 
excommunicate year after year. If the offender were troublesome, 
however, state action might be sought on behalf of the Church court 
by way of a significavit. This was sent by the Bishop into Chancery 
in order that the writ de excommunicato capiendo might be issued. 

28 Brown, p. 240. 

29 Brown, p. 232, and see the facsimile edition of the Church Book. \ 

BO I am indebted to Miss Kathleen Major, Reader in Diplomatic in the 
University of Oxford, for advice. on this procedure, and for drawing my 
attention to the Lincoln document; also to Mrs. Varley, Archivist to the 
Lincolnshire Archives Committee, for transcribing extracts from it. 


Is it not probable that Dr. Foster 31 , having failed to curb Bunyan by 
action under the Conventicle Act, turned to this older procedure? 

When did this take place? 32 Perhaps a year elapsed after the 
1675 proceedings under the Conventicle Act; possibly again there 
was some little delay in setting the other machinery in motion. This 
brings the presumed beginning of the second imprisonment to the 
end of 1676. If it lasted, as is believed, six months, the date when 
Dr. Owen took up Bunyan s case with Bishop Barlow was 1677. 
"Now", writes Asty in a much-quoted passage, "there was a law 
that if any two persons will go to the bishop of the diocese and offer 
a cautionary bond that the prisoner shall conform in half a year, the 
bishop may release him upon that bond" 33 . In the Aylesbury 
Museum is a copy of the bond in question. Dr. Foster later became 
Commissary in the Archdeaconry of Buckingham 34 , where the Regis 
trar, Richard Hey wood, kept a formulary. In this formulary on 
folios 104 V and 105 Heywood transcribed this bond from the adjoin 
ing archdeaconry. The bond is dated 21st June, 1677, and the 

31 The description "a right Judas" has clung to William Foster. Yet this 
is not the impression given by Bunyan s own account of Foster s conversa 
tion with him in 1660. The meeting is one of incompatibles the learned 
Church dignitary who believes in rules and in the strict enforcement of the 
law, is, according to his lights, honestly trying to reason with, and (in his 
view) help the man he sees only as poor, ignorant and misguided, and in 
whom he is unable to recognize the inspired preacher. "How" (said he) "can 
you understand them [the Scriptures] when you know not the original 
Greek?" Bunyan makes people "neglect their calling"; they should work 
six days and serve God on the seventh. These are only "poor simple 
ignorant people" that come to hear him, "Well", said he, to conclude, 
"but will you promise that you will not call the people together any more? 
and then you may be released and go home". (A relation of the imprison 
ment of Mr. John Bunyan, pp. 11-15, partly cited Brown, 136-7). Foster s 
surviving papers have been deposited by his descendants in the Bedford 
County Record Office, and it may sometime be possible to write a more 
detailed study of him. Throughout his three clashes with Bunyan he 
probably believed that he was doing his duty under difficult circumstances. 

32 Search has been made in the Public Record Office for the significavit 
which caused Bunyan s imprisonment, but none appears to survive for the 
diocese of Lincoln for this period. 

33 Cited Brown, pp. 241-2. 

34 Dr. Foster was appointed Commissary in the Archdeaconry of Bucking 
ham 14th March, 1688/9 (Line. Ep. Reg. 34, f.lOTd), and had resigned by 
30th September, 1701 (ibid., 35, f.SOd). His position in the diocese was 
high, for he was also Official in the Archdeaconry of Leicester (appointed 
1669), Commissary in the Archdeaconry of Bedford (1674), Commissary and 
Official in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon (1675), and Vicar General in 
Spirituals and Official Principal throughout the diocese, 1683 (information 
kindly supplied by Mrs. Varley). Richard Heywood was Registrar in the 
Archdeaconry of Buckingham at least from 1679 to 1701 (MS. Oxf. Arch. 
Papers Bucks., c. 228, in the Bodleian Library; information kindly given 
by the Keeper of Western MSS.). 


sureties are Thomas Kelsay 35 and Robert Blaney*, both of the parish 
of St. Giles, tripplegate 37 . The whole process is thus described: 
"Whereas John Bunnyon of the parish of St. Cuthbert in the Towne 
County and Archdeaconry of Bedd within the Diocese of Lincoln 
hath been presented at the Visitacion of the said Archdeacon of 
Bedf by the Churchwardens of the said parish for refuseing to come 
to his said parish Church to heare divine servise and to receive the 
Sacrament of the Lord s Supper according to the lawes established 
in that behalfe, And whereas the said Archdeacon or his Officiall 
lawfully appoynted hath lawfully summoned the said J.B. to appeare 
before them or either of them at the Archdeacon s Court in Bedf 
aforesaid the next Court day next following such his said Summons 
at the usual place and houres of the said Archdeacon s Court to 
answer the said presentment, which Summons being lawfully exe 
cuted upon the said J.B., And the said J.B. wilfully neglecting or 
Refuseing to appeare before the said Archdeacon or his Officiall at 
the said Court was by the said Archdeacon or his Officiall decreed 
Excommunicate and was soe publiquely denounced in the said parish 
Church of St. Cuthbert and for his obstinate and willfull persever- 

35 This is no doubt the same Thomas Kelsey who was present at Hitchin 
in 1677 when Brother Wilson was set apart to the office of pastor; Church 
Book of the Bunyan Baptist Meeting at Tilehouse Street, Hitchin, i, cited 
Hine, History of Hitchin, ii, 70. No connection has been established be 
tween him and the Major-General, who was living and in London at this 
time (see D N.B.). The name is not uncommon. A Thomas Kelsey 
(apparently son of another Thomas Kelsey) was given the freedom of the 
Drapers Company by patrimony in 1677 (information kindly supplied by 
Mr. Raymond Smith of the Guildhall Library) . 

36 Robert Blaney was from 1654 to 1662 Clerk to the Haberdashers 
Company. In 1664 an informer wrote "next dore to haberdashers hall 
leves one Blaney who was a confident to Cromwell whome the phanatick 
party doth consult with as A Cunning man ; and he was helpful to various 
preachers in procuring licenses; see G. Lyon Turner, Original Records of 
Early Nonconformity, iii, 475-8 (I am indebted to Mr. H. G. Tibbutt for 
this reference) . 

37 The choice of London sureties may be due to the fact that such sureties 
would be outside the jurisdiction of the Archdeacon of Bedford. It is no 
coincidence that they came from the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, where 
Bunyan s friend, George Cockayne (see D.N.B.) was preacher to an Indepen 
dent community in Red Cross Street. This community was in close 
association with Bunyan Meeting; see for instance a letter written in 1681, 
"The Church of Christ in and about Bedford to the Church of Christ walk 
ing with our beloved Brother Cockain in London", cited Brown, p. 30o. 
The possibility that George Cockayne was the "friend of this poor man 
who begged Dr. Owen s influence with Bishop Barlow, already noted in this 
journal (see Trans, xii, C. B. Cockett, "George Cokayn") is strengthened by 
the discovery of this bond. Whether the two sureties were actually members 
of Cockayne s church it is difficult to ascertain, since the earliest surviving 
list dates from c. 1696 (John B. Marsh, The Story of Harecourt, p. 156). 


ance under the said Sentence of Excommunication beyond the space 
of Forty days hath been Certifyed to the Bishopp of the said Diocese, 
and a Significavit for a writt de Excommunicato capiendo thereupon 
decreed and transmitted into the Chancery and the said writt there 
upon Issued forth and executed and the said J.B. taken into Custody 
by the Sheriffe of the said County of JBedf where he shall Remayne 
a prisoner, And whereas Request has been made for the said J.B. s 
absolucion and releasement upon sufficient Caucion tendered in this 
behalf by the above named and bounden Th.K. and R.B., if there 
fore the said J.B. shall after lawfull Summons given by the said 
Reverend father T<h., Lord Bishop of Lincoln or the said Archdeacon 
of Bedf or his Officiall appeare and performe and obey the King s 
Majestie s Ecclesiastical Lawes and the Mandates of the Church. . . . 
That then this obligacion to be voyd or els etc.". Of course Bunyan 
did not conform; but perhaps their lack of success made the 
authorities, lay or ecclesiastical, reluctant to renew their efforts. 

A farther point arises: in what gaol was Bunyan placed during 
this secdnd imprisonment? No reference to an ecclesiastical prison 
in Bedford is known. Moreover, a man taken on a writ de excom- 
municato capiendo was the king s prisoner; the writ was executed 
by the sheriff; though, as the offender remained in prison till 
absolved, the Bishop had the power of indirectly releasing him. It 
is difficult to resist the conclusion that the sheriff would commit 
Bunyan to the county gaol 38 . 

It is therefore suggested that, so far as our present knowledge goes, 
Bunyan s conflicts with authority were as follows. First, he was 
imprisoned in the county gaol from 1660 to 1672, by sentence of 
county Quarter Sessions, when his offence was against the statute of 
35 Eliz. for conventicles; during this time he was allowed a certain 
amount of latitude, so much so that on one occasion in 1666 he and 
his friends mistakenly believed that he was released; and he was 
constantly trying to bring his case before the Judge of Assize. In 
1675 a warrant against him was issued, again by the county justices, 
under the Conventicle Act of 1670; it is conceivable that this warrant 
was never served, but if it was he was probably fined, again by 

38 See for instance county gaol lists for 1672 winter (six persons "on a 
significavit"), or 1678 winter (two persons "detent super breve de excom- 
municato capiendo"), both in the County Record Office (H.S.A.). The 
county gaol was directly under the sheriff s control, the gaoler being 
appointed by him, whereas the town gaol was the responsibility of the 
bailiffs, one of their sergeants being its keeper. It is true that the sheriff 
had an overriding power, but it would be unusual for him to exercise it in 
this manner. Are we justified, without further evidence than that of 
tradition, in assuming that he did so? I am again indebted to Professor 
Plucknett for advice on this point. 


county Quarter Sessions. His second imprisonment was for the six 
months ending June 1677, when his offence was that he had not 
been to St. Cuthbert s Church to receive the sacrament, and had 
persisted in this conduct after being excommunicated whereupon the 
writ de excommunicate capiendo had been issued against him; from 
this he was released on Bishop Barlow s accepting a bond from two 
London sureties for his conduct. If the sheriff on this occasion 
followed the normal procedure, he committed Bunyan to the county 
gaol, and it was there that Pilgrim s Progress was written. 


PEEL. Independent Press & Pilgrim Press. 5s. 

PEEL. Independent Press. 10s. 6d. 

Both these books are the fruit of patient and diligent work by Dr. 
Peel, who has pre-eminently the gift for historical research and knows the 
documents of Congregationalism. 

The first is a valuable contribution to the history of the early Con 
gregational martyrs in the Elizabethan and following periods. It contains 
a full list of names and is a moving record of loyalty to the faith. Dr. 
Peel also gives a list of the martyrs of a later day in Madagascar, during the 
great persecution, and of those in many parts of the world who have since 
laid down their lives. All this is vital to our Churches; and here in small 
compass is a wealth of information which would otherwise for most of us 
be out of reach. 

The Congregational Two Hundred is most easily described as a Diction 
ary of Congregational Biography, but it is much more than a dictionary. 
Dr. Peel selects two hundred of the outstanding names, during some four 
hundred years from 1530, of men who "left an impress of some permanence 
on the denominational life or on the outside world". Such a selection is 
not easy to make; and the mere gathering of the facts as set down here is 
a big task. So far as the present writer s knowledge enables him to judge, 
these records are remarkably accurate, and the selection justifies itself as 
being comprehensive and catholic. Perhaps the number of names from the 
last thirty years of the period is a little out of proportion; even if there 
were giants in those days. Be that as it may, these vignettes are much 
more than bare summaries of fact, and often catch the overtones of an 
individuality. I suppose a man s own predilections must influence a 
selection like this, and naturally there are other names one would wish to 
include : Dr. Powicke of Hatherlow, a historical scholar of distinction, a 
devoted pastor, and an Independent of the very first water; and Bernard 
Manning, if only as one more instance of the kind of laymen our Churches 
can train. Bernard Manning s influence is likely to be more and more 
appreciated in the coming years. But these are predilections of my own. 
This is a book of unique interest to Congregationalists; it will quicken faith 
and inspire courage. . A. T. S. JAMES. 

Nonconformity in Mill Hill Village before 1807 

THE Mill Hill that one encounters on the Barnet and Watford 
By-pass is not the medieval village, with its green and its 
ponds, with its school and its barracks, its Roman Catholic 
Seminaries and its Cancer Research Building (H.M.S. Queen 
Elizabeth during the war), its Parish Church, built by William 
Wilberforce, and its three War Memorials. That remarkable mile of 
History and Romance is reached by the 240 bus route from Golders 
Green, through Hendon and up Bittacy Hill. The Ridgeway, which 
was the first road near London to have milestones erected on it in 
modern times, leads one to the old village of Mill Hill, grouped round 
the Angel Pond and the Sheep Wash, the village High Street, three 
hostelries the Adam and Eve, Angel and Crown, and the King s 
Head Rosebank, a Quaker Meeting House turned into a dwelling, 
a Methodist Church, and Mill Hill School with its glorious situation 
and its well-equipped buildings, including a modern school Chapel, 
which takes the place of one erected in 1825, when the transformed 
stable of old Ridgeway House, adapted in 1807, proved too small. 

The early Puritans were not all separatists, and it was perhaps not 
until the Civil War that the dividing line became acutely obvious. 
It was a Hendonian, John Herne, a barrister of Lincoln s Inn, who 
defended William Prynne, the author of Histriomastix, but there is 
no need to suspect Herne of Puritan leanings, as he was also counsel 
for Archbishop Laud. In each case he failed to convince the law of 
his client s innocence. Herne s uncle, Thomas Paske, M.A., was 
vicar of Hendon, and the Commissioners, appointed in 1649 to 
enquire into the condition of parishes, deprived Paske, and appointed 
Francis Wareham, M.A., of Bene t College, Cambridge, a man of 
strong Puritan sympathies. The Nicolls of Ridgeway, Mill Hill, 
approved of Wareham s intrusion, but the Herberts, who were Lords 
of the Manor, were recusants. A certain John Juxon, who died on 
5th May, 1659, asked that his funeral sermon should be preached by 
Wareham, who also preached acceptable memorial sermons in St. 
Paul s Cathedral and St. Mary, Aldermanbury. While he was vicar 
of Hendon, Wareham lost both wife and daughter, and when at the 
Restoration he lost the Hendon living he went to live near Wood- 
croft, Upper Hale, close to the Green Man Hostelry. Calamy 
speaks of him as a man of great natural wit, of polite learning, of 
great pleasantness in conversation, and a very practical preacher, 
but unsuccessful. 



Another dispossessed cleric who came to live in Mill Hill was 
Richard Swift, curate of Edgware. Richard Swift was the son of a 
Norwich attorney, Algernon Swift, and was born in 1616. His 
education was somewhat restricted as his father died young, but he 
entered the Christian ministry without episcopal ordination and in 
1650 he was appointed vicar of Offley in Hertfordshire, being also 
chaplain to Sir Brocket Spencer. In 1656 the Parliamentary Com 
mittee of Triers appointed Swift to Edgware, and he continued there 
until 1660, when the ejected rector, John Whiston, M.A., com 
plained that he had been removed from his living by Sir William 
Roberts. Whiston and Swift were called before the Middlesex 
Justices, and Whiston was correctly restored to his benefice, and 
Swift became one of the 450 ministers ejected in England and Wales 
between May 1660 and 24th August, 1662; and not one of the 1,800 
ejected on St. Bartholomew s Day itself. We must note the com 
ment of Sir Charles Firth, an extremely fair-minded historian of the 
period : 

The reaction which followed the Restoration cannot be fairly 
judged unless the legislation of the twenty years of revolution 
which preceded it is taken into account. The persecution of the 
Anglican clergy and the proscription of the liturgy of the 
Church of England should be borne in mind in estimating the 
causes of the oppressive enactments directed against the Non 

Another reasonable excuse for the second stage of severity towards 
dissent was the plot of Venner and his Fifth Monarchy men, which 
terrorized the City of London for four days in January 1661, with 
their frantic cries of "King Jesus, and their heads upon the gates". 
Calamy knew Swift well, and tells us that he was carried away by 
Fifth Monarchy notions, which might imply that he was in some way 
implicated in the plot. Protests were made by Baptists, Congrega- 
tionalists and Quakers against this "horrid, treasonable Insurrection 
and Rebellion", but great harm must have been done to the cause 
of toleration and comprehension. The King was known to be tolerant 
in his views, and he offered Bishoprics or Deaneries to several 
prominent Presbyterians, and some were accepted. Richard Baxter, 
who became at Totteridge, which he found very cold, the near 
neighbour and friend of Swift and Wareham, refused the Bishopric 
of Hereford; and when the full effects of the ejections were seen it 
was found that many of the ministers were in the direst poverty 
and distress. The ejected ministers were among the cream of the 
Church, and the Earl of Peterborough s epithets of "sober, vigilant 
and industrious" were certainly well deserved by the three whom we 
are privileged to associate with Mill Hill. The decisions then made, 


though somewhat relaxed within a generation by later acts of Parlia 
ment, tended to divide the nation into two very distinct classes. 

The exclusion of Nonconformists from the local Grammar Schools 
and the Universities for more than two centuries led to the building 
up of Dissenting Schools and Academies, of which Swift s at Mill 
Hill seems to have been the earlies-t. Dr. Foster Watson writes 
enthusiastically about these institutions: 

"The history of these schools would be the finest record of 
Education outside the ancient Universities of Oxford and Cam 
bridge to be found in England. It is not improbable that in the 
eighteenth century their academies were superior to the con 
temporary Universities superior, if not in book-learning, at 
any rate in the culture of the finer virtues of life". 
The curriculum varied from one school to another, but as a rule it 
included Latin and Greek, logic, natural and moral philosophy, 
rhetoric, theology and Biblical criticism; but the teachers were not 
too rigidly bound to the classical tradition, and so were able to use 
"their freedom to experiment, naturally not always wisely, but on 
the whole with fruitful results". From schools of this type came 
many Nonconformist Divines, and men so different as Robert 
Harley and Daniel Defoe; and Professor G. N. Clark in his History 
of the Later Stuarts suggests that "it is not fanciful to see in both of 
them traces of the characteristic nonconformist outlook, a scepticism 
about some accepted standards, and a seriousness about some 
matters which most men take comparatively lightly. The expression 
the nonconformist conscience , used in a later age, illustrates the fact 
that the two parts of the nation found it difficult to understand one 
another. It results from the existence of a party of independent 
and nonconformist morality and culture". 

Swift moved from Edgware to Mill Hill in 1660, and from then 
until 1665, when he began to take in boarders, he was in great straits. 
He also had an outbreak of smallpox in his house, but fortunately 
without any fatal results. A kindly friend of his in London, the 
wife of a considerable merchant, sent him her sons to educate, and 
persuaded her friends to do the same, till he had a competent number 
of pupils. This is a tantalizing remark of Calamy s, giving us the 
vaguest details, and no names, numbers or dates. Probably such 
well-known Puritan families in Hendon as the Haleys, Hubberstys 
and the Paul Nicolls also helped him. The keeping of a school was 
an obvious way of making a living, and, though he had not been 
trained at a University, Swift, says Calamy, had acquired pro 
ficiency in languages, which would mean Latin and Greek. 

Fortunately for Swift, Mill Hill village was not affected by the 
Five Mile Act, which forbade any Nonconformist minister who 


refused the Oxford oath to live within five miles of a corporate 
town; but Archbishop Sheldon s questionary to all Bishops, asking 
for returns as to Conventicles, Nonconformist ministers and 
especially schoolmasters, must have been embarrassing for Swift. 

It is a pity that we do not know the names of any of Swift s 
pupils, and for a very long time it was not clear exactly where he 
lived. In the various Hendon surveys, which are almost unrivalled 
in their number and completeness, there are two Ridgeways. One 
is the house and property which dales from 1525 and was occupied 
for a century and a half by a branch of the Nicolls. It was then 
owned by a succession of Quakers: Jeremiah Harman; Michael 
Russell; his son-in-law, Peter Collinson, the botanist; and his grand 
son Michael; then Richard Salisbury, another famous botanist; and 
since 1807 by Mill Hill School. 

Swift s property was on the other side of the road, a house called 
Jeannatts, where a century later lived Lady Anne Erskine, the 
close friend of the Countess of Huntingdon. Swift figures in various 
schedules of tax payers, and in the Hearth Tax Returns for 1066 he 
is recorded as paying 18s. for six hearths, where Harrow School 
House only paid for four. He was more than once imprisoned in 
Newgate for holding conventicles, and one occasion was during the 
Great Plague of 1665. In the Domestic State Papers there is a 
record for Sunday, 9th April, 1666, when thirteen persons were 
present at Swift s house, and twelve were fined. It seems clear that 
Swift was the thirteenth and he was imprisoned. The Declaration 
of Indulgence, published by Charles II in 1672-73, does not seem to 
have affected either Swift or Wareham. The lists issued for London 
and Middlesex licences to Dissenters do not include either of them; 
but Charles s measure, designed to help "whatsoever sort of non 
conformist or recusant", was a great relief to the hard-pressed 

Calamy calls Swift a man of great charity, and records his 
generosity to many poor families in the parish. He put several 
children out to trade and did as much good as the gentlemen of 
fortune in the village. While he was living there, Lord William 
Russell was spending part of his time at Highwood House, only a 
mile away. He was to spend some weeks in prison for alleged com 
plicity in the Rye House Plot and to end his days on the scaffold. 
His widow, Lady Rachel, went on living in Mill Hill, and it is hard 
to believe that she was not acquainted with the Dissenting lovers of 
freedom, who lived so near. 

Swift was a pious man, daily employed in studying the Scriptures, 
and with an unshakable faith in Providence. "Why should God 
take care, and I also?" was a frequent ejaculation of his. His 


pupils must have imbibed some of his piety. One wonders whether 
he also imbued them with the fifth-monarchy and communistic 
notions which he seems to have exhibited in his earlier years. 

His forty years as a Dissenting Schoolmaster in Mill Hill do not 
seem to have been known by Samuel Favell and John Pye Smith, 
who visited the place and fixed on Ridgeway House for their pro 
posed Grammar School. It was not till the 1890 s that Lord 
Winterstoke (then Sir W. H. Wills) reminded or informed his 
audience on Foundation Day that there had been a previous 
Dissenting Academy at Mill Hill more than two centuries earlier. 

Quite as important as Swift s school and conventicle is the story 
of the Quakers. An early Mill Hill Friend was Jeremiah Harman, 
whose father was an "Ironside"; and he lived at the larger Ridge- 
way House. George Fox came several times to the meeting house 
on the Ridgeway, as well as to the Hendon one at Guttershedge, 
which he visited in 1673 with his wife and daughter Rachel on his 
way to see William Penn at Rickmansworth. In his fascinating 
Journal there are references to his Mill Hill visits in 1677, 1678, and 
1680, when he stayed with Anne Hailey, widow of Henry Hailey, 
who, according to the Hendon Survey of 1685, "holdeth for Terme, 
of Life, a Messuage and Ten Acres of Land, called John-at-Hedge, 
with the Appurtenance, late of Sir John Franklin and renteth yearly 
to the Lord Is. 6d., and payeth for Service 4s.". On one of Penn s 
visits he refers to "a very large meeting, several friends coming 
from London". 

A Friends permanent meeting-house was established in 1678 in 
the long, low wooden house next to the King s Head Inn. The 
house, now called Rosebank, was erected on a piece of land let on 
lease at 5 per annum. It was enlarged in 1693, denoting an 
increased membership, but soon afterwards numbers began to 
decline, and it was associated with the one at Guttershedge, Hendon, 
and another at Mimms. No minutes are preserved, but we gather 
from the printed account of London meeting houses that in 1690 the 
Sunday collections ranged from 2s. 6d. to 8s. In 1709 fortnightly 
meetings were suggested, and William Jordan in 1715 left 20, half 
for repair and the remainder to entertain friends who visited the 
Mill Hill meeting for the Sunday services. Only ten or twelve 
shillings were spent each year, and in 1719, when the meetings were 
discontinued, there was 6 9s. lOd. in hand. 

After some discussion Mill Hill and Hendon Friends were attached 
for services to Peel Meeting in Clerkenwell. The old building at Mill 
Hi H is still in a gootf state of repair; it has been turned into a 
dwelling-house by putting in a floor halfway up the walls, and 
belongs to the School. 


There is not room to speak in a ny detail of the achievements of 
that prince of Quaker Botanists, Peter Collinson, who moved his 
treasures from his Peckham garden and planted them in the grounds 
of Ridge way House, where his father-in-law lived. He was the 
friend and correspondent of Linnaeus and Benjamin Franklin, of 
the Duke of Richmond, of Henry Fox, Lord Holland, and of Lord 
Petre; and was one of the most eminent botanists of the day. He 
appears in his letters as a charming man with the courtly manners 
associated with the Quakers, as an enthusiastic lover of Nature and 
of science in all its branches. He was a keen politician with little 
discrimination and some stupid prejudices, and a man who num 
bered among his friends most of the eminent Whigs, and not a few 
Tories, many Churchmen, several prominent Roman Catholics and 
Dissenters, and most of the foremost figures in scientific research in 
the century in which he lived. 

A remarkably fruitful friendship was that with the Quaker 
botanist of Harrisburg and Philadelphia, John Bartram, who for 
30 years sent him boxes of seeds and plants in return for English 
shrubs or for a money payment. These seeds and plants he distri 
buted round the country, and there is hardly a single large estate in 
the country that does not owe much to his enthusiasm. Kew Gar 
dens, Ken Wood, Thorndon and Goodwood are four among the 
many which were enriched by this Mill Hill Quaker, who tended his 
Ridgeway gardens for twenty years. He helped to secure Sir Hans 
Sloane s collections for the nation, and was thus almost a founder of 
the British Museum. He read Franklin s paper on Electricity to the 
Royal Society and was disappointed at their lack of interest. He 
was honorary agent of the first public libraries in America, and 
criticized Linnaeus s absurd notion that swallows spent the winter 
under water. He saw the coming break with America, which he 
deeply regretted, and fortunately died in 1768 before the drama 
came to a head. He introduced 180 new plants into England, and 
some sketches among Bartram s letters now in the Bodleian Library 
made it possible to rebuild the town of Williamsburg, U.S.A., in its 
old original Colonial style. 

With the end of the very full and fruitful life of the Quaker, Peter 
Collinson, we are almost within a generation of the toundation of 
Mill Hill School, which took over old Ridgeway House, with its 
magnificent view of Harrow, and possibly of Windsor Castle and 
Eton. It was this inspiring view that determined the minds of 
Favell and Pye Smith. As many another since that time has been 
encouraged by the panorama still today unspoiled, so these pioneers 
in Nonconformist education, in their own words, "thanked God and 
took courage" . NORMAN G. BRETT- JAMES. 

Presbyterianism under the Commonwealth 


The lay members of the Wirksuorth Classis were even more unrepre 
sentative of the Churches than were the ministers. Twenty names are 

quoted, mostly unidentifiable, of whom only nine seem to have shewn any 

consistent interest in the Classis. These were : 

Edward Allen An Elder of the Church at Wirksworth, who attended 39 
meetings between Dec., 1651 and April, 1658. 

German(e) Buxton Elder of the Church at Kirk Ireton. Third son of 
George Buxton of Bradbourne, uncle of Henry Buxton of 
Mill-houses (infra), and father of Edward, curate of Trun- 
ditch and from }662 vicar of Duffield (Quoted by Calamy, 
but not ejected), and of Thomas*, curate of Tettenhall, 
Staffs, who was ejected thence in 1661, and licensed in 1673 
as Congl. Teacher at Tamworth and Coventry. Probably 
also father of the Anthony Buxton who was ordained by the 
Classis, 21 March, 1654 (q.v.). German attended 19 

Henry Buxton, "de Bradbourn", an elder of the Bradbourne Presbytery 
and descendant of the ancient family of Buxton of Buxton. 
Henry Buxton, son of John of Buxton, settled at Brad- 
bourne, temp. Elizabeth. The Henry Buxton here men 
tioned was his great-grandson, born 1610. He married Anne, 
daughter of Richard Wigley of Wigwell Grange, Wirksworth. 
Attended 54 sessions of the Classis. 

Henry Buxton, Junior, "of Mill-houses", an elder of the Wirksworth Pres 
bytery, whose connexion with the other Buxtons mentioned 
is not established. (The house of John Buxton of Wirks 
worth was licensed as a meeting-place in 1672). Attended 15 

Richard Bux-ton, younger brother of German Buxton, another elder of the 
Bradbourne Presbytery, attended nine meetings. 

John Rudyard, Elder of the Wirksworth church, and appointed Scribe to 
the Classis on 16 January, 1654, in succession to Roger 
Coke. He was a fairly consistent attendant throughout the 
period covered by the minutes, registering 60 attendances. 

John Sclater, Elder of the Hognaston presbytery, and another faithful 
attendant, although his minister does not seem to have been 
a member. He seems to have been a well-to-do yeoman, and 
(like Henry Buxton Senr.) usually has "Mr." prefixed to 
his name in the Minutes, a distinction only accorded to these 
two members. An action for non-payment of tithes was 
brought against him in 1668 (Cox, Churches of Derby shire. 
ii, 490). Made 42 attendances. 

William Storer, another elder of Wirksworth Church, made 24 attendances : 
nothing else is known of him, nor of 

John Storer, "of Irichhay", who attended once; Edward Storer, who 
attended four meetings, or Robert Storer, an elder from Kirk 
Ireton, who was present 3 times. 

Gilbert Wallis and John Heapie (representation not stated) each attended 18 
meetings; James Addams (5), William Allsopp (3), William 
Jessop (5), Thomas Mellor (2), Robert Newton (1), John 
Sutton (1), and Richard Varden (6) were the other lay 



On several occasions no lay-elder was present at Classis meetings; four 
times only Rudyard, the Scribe; 10 times only he and John Sclater; 8 times 
only he and Henry Buxton Senior were present. 

times during the period covered by the minutes : the ministerial members, 
given in order of appearance in the record, were: 

|* Robert Porter 50 attendances throughout entire period. Vicar of Pent- 
rich, ejected thence 1662. 

*Thomas Shelmerdine 64 attendances: Rector of .Matlock, whence ejected 
1662. Brother of *Daniel, ordained by the Classis, 20 May, 1657, and 
father of Samuel who was licensed as Presb. teacher at Cromford in 

Martin Topham, who made 77 attendances, appears to have been the 
principal figure in the Classis, in the first place, no doubt, on account 
of his position as vicar of Wirksworth, and by the predominance of lay 
representation from his congregational presbytery. The Rev. S. L. 
Caiger, the present vicar of Wirksworth, has kindly afforded the follow 
ing details : 

"Robert Topham was preferred to Wirksworth benefice in 1633 by 
Dr. Anthony Topham, Dean of Lincoln, patron of the living (Robert s 
father?). In 1643, it is presumed that Robert went over to the Round 
heads, for he continued as vicar. In 1645 the Prayer Book was for 
bidden, but Robert still stayed put , so probably apostasized to the 
Independents. He held the living till his death (apparently) in 1650, 
when he was succeeded by his son. 

"Martin Topham. The Parliamentary Inquisition of 1650 describes 
him as Viccar of Wirksworth with Alderwasley, Ible, Ironbrook Grange, 
Hopton, Alton, New Bugings and Idrichaye, able and of good conversa 
tion (meaning that he was a sound Independent?). He married 
Elizabeth Wigley of Wigwell Grange in Wirksworth20. A letter is 
extant which he wrote to a Col. Sanders of Derby begging for a licence 
for one of his poor parishioners to brew ale. He took a leading part in 
the Presbyterian Classis, and in 1657 apparently approved the action 
of the magistrates for silencing a Quakeress, Jane Stones, to be stripped 
naked and whipped at the cart s tail in Wirksworth market place, for 
having interrupted a meeting of his Classis. I cannot make out whether 
he died in 1658 or 1660, but the next vicar was Peter Watkinson" (q.v.) 
\*John Otc field 82 attendances, the highest number. Rector of Carsing- 
ton, whence ejected, 1662. Name is given consistently as Otefield (once 
as Oatfield) throughout the minutes, and so in licence documents (Lyon 
Turner, II. 704, 711), but his sons were known as Oldfield (under which 
indexed in Cal. Rev. and D.N.B.). Sons John, jjoshua, Nathaniel, 
Samuel, all became ministers. Samuel Oatefield, teacher, licensed at 
Alfreton, 1672, and John s house there as meeting place. 
*Thomas Myles41 attendances, last on 19 Feb., 1655/6. He was minister 
at Bradbourne 1650-56, removing to curacy of St. Chad s, Lix:hfield in 
1656, whence ejected. 

Roger Coke, the Scribe of the Presbytery until 21 Feb., 1652. Apart from 
his consistent attendance at 30 meetings and the careful records which 
he kept, nothing is said about him. His name always appears on the 
ministerial side of the attendance register, but the church he represented 
is not stated ^. 

20 Thereby related, in law, to Henry Buxton of Bradbourne. 
Qy. connected with Roger Coke (fl. 1600-96), the political writer for 
whom see D.N.B. 


Peter Coates minister of South Wingfield from 1646, on presentation of 
Christian, Countess of Devonshire. Episcopally ordained 16GO, and 
retained his vicarage till death, 26 Jan., 1675, aged 81: buried centre 
of chancel S. Wingfield church. Attended 35 meetings, and chosen 
Moderator more than any other minister, 21 times. 

Peter Watkinson, who made 55 attendances, was minister of Kirk Ireton2 2. 
"Had acted as Independent Rector of K.I. from 1647; became vicar of 
Wirksworth, the next parish, in 1660, in succession to Martin Topham, 
supra. A strong Presbyterian and Moderator of the Classis no less than 
19 times. In 1653 he was offered Chesterfield, but declined (apparently 
on advice of the Classis .to whom he referred the invitation for opinion). 
In 1655 he was highly commended for his sermons against Socinianism. 
In 1660 the ejected clergy were restored to their livings, but this did 
not affect Wirksworth. In 1662 the Act of Uniformity led to Watkin 
son s honourable resignation from the benefice23 in favour of the Rev. 
Thomas Browne at the same time as John Oldfield resigned from the 
adjacent benefice of Carsington on account of his Presbyterian views." 

Edward Pole, rector of Bontishall (Bonsall) before Commonwealth period 
and until 1697. Parliamentary Commission of 1650 described him as 
"a man able and of good conversation". Made 42 attendances. 
\*John Machin only appearance on 19 Feb., 1651/2. Had been ordained 
by presbyters at Whitchurch, Salop in 1649. Lecturer at Ashbourne 
"where for the space of two years he was a painful and laborious 
preacher, and exceedingly useful". Removed to Cheshire, where ejected. 

John Wiersdale 6 attendances. Rector of Bradley, and apparently held 
the living until 1669. Of him see Special Case in extenso, supra. 

Francis Topham 5 occasional attendances. Rector of Thorpe-by-Ash- 
bourne from 1633. No other details. Believed brother of Martin, supra. 

Samuel Moore, ordained by the Classis as Lecturer at Ashbourne, 
15 March, 1652. He attended the meeting of the Classis on 17 May, 
1653, but his presence evidently somewhat irregular, as he held no 
parochial charge, and a formal vote was passed admitting him to the 
privileges of membership, "not only as an Assistant to the Classis but 
also to act as a member of the Classis." Attended regularly until 
close of the minuted period, 23 attendances. (Robert Moore, curate of 
Brampton, Derbys., ejected 1662, had a son Samuel, possibly this man). 
\*William Bagshaw, first attended an extraordinary meeting for the ordina 
tion of Anthony Buxton, Richard Chantry, Humfrey Waldron and 
Thomas Ford at Wirksworth, 21 March, 1654. Invited to preach the 
next Classical sermon, which he did, 17 April, 1655. Present again as 
"Assistant" on 20 May 1656 and 20 Jan. 1656/7, and invited to attend 
"whenever he can make it convenient". He was a member of the 
Cheshire Classis in May 169124. 

*Samuel Charles Ordained by Classis at*Kniveton, 22 Aug., 1655. Ad 
mitted an assistant to the Classis (in absentia) 16 Oct., 1655 and 
subsequently attended 18 meetings. Vicar of Mickleover, Derbys. 
1657-62, when ejected and removed to Chesterfield and Hull. 

Hieron probably Samuel, vicar of Shirley, who was ordained by 
the Classis, 19 Feb., 1651/2, though his brother, John, had on the 
same day made request that the next Classical Fast might be held in 
his church at Breadsall, where he had been rector since 1645. On four 

22 Information per the Rev. S. L. Caiger, vicar of Wirksworth (1947). 

23 Not mentioned by Calamy. The Rev. A. G. Matthews informs us that he 
subsequently conformed, held livings in Staffs and Yorks.and died in 1688. 

M Gordon, Cheshire Classis, 5, 6. 


occasions when "Mr. Hieron" was present it is singular that no initial 
or Christian name is given, nor place of charge most unusually. Both 
brothers were ejected. 

John Beardmore B.A.. of Clare Hall, Cambridge, was ordained by the 
Classis, 19 Aug., 1656. It is not indicated where he was settled. Was 
minister at Hognaston in 1690; possibly rector of Whitwell. Attended 
Classis meeting, 16 Sept., 1656; voted an Assistant on 16 Dec., 1656, 
but never attended subsequently. 

Samuel Trickett B.A., of Christ s, Cambridge, ordained by the Classis 
as minister of Bradbourn, 17 Dec., 1656. Present at next meeting of 
the Classis and made 22 attendances up to November 1658. He was 
episcopally ordained at the Restoration and instituted vicar of Brad- 
bourn in 1661, becoming vicar of Norton, Derbys. in 1667. 
*James Sutton ordained by Classis, 20 May, 1657, as vicar of Crich. 
"Having formerly addressed himself to this Classis for ordination, and 
appearing this day (21 April 1657) again had this Thesis given him. 
vizt An Scripture authoritis pendit ab ecclesia?" No record in 
minutes under review of this "former application". According to 
Cal. Rev., was M.A. of Magdalene, Cambridge, in 1628. 

Brigges "Assistant pro tempore" at meeting, 16 Maich 1657/8, 
evidently as visitor. No further reference or clue to identity. 
ANTI-SOCINIANISM : A series of resolutions, the first 15 May, 1655, 
provide that "each Classicall-Meeting some one be chosen to bring in to the 
Classis the next meeting after, a Thesis upon some point con 
troverted betwixt us & the Socinians." 

t John Biddle, the principal English exponent of Socinianism, "was in this 
year banished to the Scilly Isles, after serving various earlier terms of 
imprisonment, and the controversy was in full swing. It is a singular 
commentary on the Presbyterian orthodoxy and zeal against Socinianism 
at this period to Tecall that in less than a century most of the old Presby 
terian congregations in England had passed into Socinianism and /or become 
Unitarian ^. Did the Classes perchance disseminate by disputation, and 
teach heterodoxy by much wordy assault upon it? 

The various theses submitted to the Classis (at irregular intervals) in 
execution of these resolutions dealt with : 

That there is no need of any special illumination of the Spirit of God 
to the right understanding of the Scripture. 

That consequences drawne from Scripture are rightly equivalent to 

The first use and beginning of the Socinian errors and who have 
been the chiefe formenters (sic) of them in everie age unto these daies. 
That God may be known by the diligent contemplation of the 

That there is a Trinitie of persons in the Deitie. 
That the Holy Ghost is God. 

That Christian religion may be confirmed by the Testimony of the 
Old Testament. 

That man was created in the Image of God, which consisteth not 
only in dominion over the Creatures, but in righteousness and true 

Latterly, although it was resolved that "the position agt the Socinians" 
be brought in by various members named, the "Position was waived" 
owing to small attendance or other business. 

25 On this, see e.g., T. S. James, Presbyterian Chapels & Charities (1867). 


MARRIAGE OF COUSINS : Op 20 July. 1652, is the entry : 

Whereas some persons under the power and inspection of this Classis 
have requested this Classis to give theire oppinion whether it be lawful 
(or the least expedient) for Cousen-Germanes to marry or no? There 
fore it is this day voted by the Classis that this point be debated in the 
Classis att their next meeting. 
And on 17 August, 1652 : 

This day the cas,e of Cousen-Germanes marrying was debated, accord 
ing to the ordr of the Classis at their last meeting; & upon a full debate 
it was determined that though it might be lawfull, yet it was not 
expedient in regard to the offence that many Godlie Ministers did 
take thereat it being the verie next degree to those that are expresly 
pr hibited in Scripture. 

MINISTERIAL REMOVAL: On 19 July, 1653 Tuesday fortnight being 
August 2d appointed for a Classicall meeting to debate Mr. Watkinson s 
case concerning his call to Chesterfield. Whereas the Parishioners of 
Chesterfield have desired Mr. Peter Watkinson, a member of our Classis 
to be their minister. It is this day ordered upon the desire of Mr. Peter 
Watkinson of the advice of the Classis about the business that the 
said Mr. Watkinson doe declare his judgmt about that living & likewise 
exhibit the reasons of his judgmt to the consideration of the Classis, 
& the elders & people of Kirk Ireton are also desired to be there prsent 
to declare their judgment in reference to his removall. 

There is no record of a meeting on 2 August, no reference to the matter 
in the next ordinary meeting of the 16 August, or thereafter, but Mr. 
Watkinson decided against Chesterfield (either by advice of the Classis or 
on his own initiative) and remained at Kirk Ireton till 1660. There does 
not appear, from the minute, to have been any claim to prescriptive right 
of intervention on the part of the Classis, such as modern [English] 
Presbyterianism could exercise. 

WIDOWS & ORPHANS: On 21 October, 1656, it was ordered that there 
be some course taken for the reliefe of the widowes & orphans of 
ministers deceased within the Wirkesworth Classis. Which was done 
as followeth: 

We whose names are subscribed do contribute & promise to continue 
the several summes underwritten to be paid uppon the Classicall day 
in October yearly to the use aforesaid. 

Nineteen names (mostly autograph) are appended : Nine ministerial 
members for sums from 10 /- to 26 /8d.; ten lay elders for sums from 2/6d. 
to 12/-, amounting in all to 8.19.6, of which 5.10.0 was given by the 
ministers. Some of the lay contributors do not seem to have been members 
of the Classis (at all events they are never recorded as having attended a 
meeting), such as Mr. Henry Fern (6/-), probably a representative of the 
distinguished Nonconformist family of that name. The sum subscribed is 
distributed, but names of beneficiaries are not mentioned. 

WIRKSWORTH LECTURE: On 20 January, 1656, it was noted that 

Whereas there is a weeklie Lecture kept at Wirkesworth by certaine 

Ministers of this Classis everie one of them his month by course it is 

therefore noted and accordinglie ordered this day that he shall preach 

the Classicall Sermon within whose month so ever it falleth. 

HUMILIATION: Two special days of Humiliation are ordered: 

15 Jan., 1655/6 Because that the Lord hath visited divers places within 



this Classis with feavers and other sicknesses : it is this day voted 
that the second Thursday in ffebruary next be set apart, and kept a 
day of humiliation in the Parish Church of Wirkesworth, Mr. Martin 
Topham to procure two sermons. 

17 Aug., 1658 Voted that Septemb.I. next be observed for a private 
day of humiliation at the Vicarage in Wirkesworth by the ministers of 
this Classis. 

ORDINATION THESES: The following titles for theses to be submitted 

and defended by candidates for ordination (in addition to those mentioned 

above in loc.) are recorded, as indicating prevailing theological tendencies: 

S. Hieron : An sola fides justificet? 

A. Wood : Utrum ordinatio ministrorum sit necessaria. 

S. Beresford : An Ministerium Anglicanum sit vere Evangelicum. 

J. Barrett: An gratia sufficiens ad conversionem concedatur omnibus? 

R. Smallie: An Christ p omnibus et singulis intentionalit 1 sit 

T. Hill : Posita praeteritique divina media quibus utitur deus 

conversionem non sunt delusoria. 

J. Hingley : Utrum Paedobaptismus sit in Ecclesia licitus? 

S. Moore : Utrum Gratia convertans sit resistibilis. 

J. Whiston : An Christus sit Deus? 

J Truman: Verum peccatum traducatur p generationem vel induca- 

tur p imitaconem vel audetur peccatum originalie (sic). 

T. Broad : Utrum obedientia Christ! est justitiae divinae satisfactoria. 

S. L. Ogden: Utrum Liceat unicuique ex dictamine p priae conscientiae 

deum colere. 

J. Staniforth : An Christus hypostaticus vivatur Sanctis. 

A. Buxton : An Christi meritis sit satisfactio divinas Justitiae pro 

R. Chantry : An in hac vita homo possit esse certus de salutae suae 

eternae certidudine fidei. 

T. Ford : An Christi obedientia tollat obedientiam Christianam. 

W. Yates : An anima humana sit mortalis. 

S. Charles: Utrum in via detur perfectio graduum. 

J . Greensmith : An detur peccatum regnans in eternatis ? 
M. Edge : That the name Jehovah is incommunicable. 

A. Shaw: An detur justificatio ab eterno. 

R. Swynfen : Utrum Paulus contradicat Jacobo in articulo Justi- 

J. Spilsbury : An Scriptores sacri fuerint infallibiliter acti in sribendis 

libris sacre Scripturae. 

T.Matthews: An sola fide justificemur? 

J. Beardmore: An vocatio ad Christum et gratiam sit universalis et 

mim bene distinguatur in efficacem & inefficacem. 
T. Gorton : Utrum subjectio filii ad patrem tollit aequalitatem cum 


T. Smith : Utrum films Dei vere assumpsit humanam naturam? 

R. Home : Utrum Christus in anima passus est plus quam 


S. Trickett: An fides sit instrumentum Justifications. 

M. Hill: Utrum impetratio Christi consistere possit cum omnium 


T. Hutchinson : An decretum divinum tollat Liberum arbitriitm* 
D. Shelmerdine : An scripturae sunt perfectae. 
A. Smith : Utrum successio ministroru sit ecclesiae verae essentialis? 


"FOREIGN" ORDINATIONS. (The service being held at Wirksworth 
unless otherwise stated.) 
Samuel Beresford, 21 July, 1652, as assistant to his uncle, Thomas Blake, 

at Tamworth, Warwicks; 

|*John Barrett, 19 Oct., 1652, as minister Wimeswould, Leics; 
*Nicholas Hill, same date, was probably the curate of Burstwick, Yorks, 

ejected at the Restoration; 
|*Thomas Hill, at Ashbourne, 15 March, 1652-3, as vicar Orton-on-the- 

Hill, Leics; 

John Hingley, same date and place, as curate Shuttington, Warwicks, 
where seemingly sequestrated and succeeded in 1660 by Thomas Hill, 

Thomas Leadbeater, at Crich, 21 June, 1653, as vicar Hinckley, Leics; 
f*Joseph Truman, 27 Sept., 1653, as assistant to Richard Whitchurch at 

St. Peter s, Nottingham; 

Thomas Broad, same date, as minister of Alveton, Staffs; 
Jonathan Staniforth, 8 Dec., 1653, as assistant to Thos. Bakewell at 
St. Werburgh s, Derby (which was in the area of the Classis for the 
Hundred of Morleston and Litchurch); 

"John Chester, who had been rector of Witherley, Leics, since 1651, but 

applied for ordination on 21 Feb., 1653-4, though no record of the 

actual ordination is preserved, there following twelve blank leaves in 

the minute book; 

"Thomas Ford, 21 March, 1654-5, as assistant to Geo. Crosse at Harleston, 


Anthony Buxton, same day, as minister of Hayfield, Derbys; 
*Humfrey Waldron, same day, as rector of Broom, Staffs; 
*John Greensmith, 22 Aug., 1655, as vicar of Colwich, Staffs; 
Thomas Dresser, 18 March, 1655-6, as vicar of Woolstanton, Staffs; 
*John Spilsbury, 17 Dec., 1656, as vicar of Bromsgrove, Worcs. 
John Hickes, same day, as assistant to Geo. Crosse at Clif ton-Cam ville, 


Robert Home, same day, for Nuthall, Notts; 
Francis Lowe, for Marple, Stockport see "Special Cases"; 
Thomas Hutchinson, 20 May, 1657 "because the place of his aboad 
is fair distant from this Classis" had his thesis sent to him: possibly 
the Hutchinson, Master at Mansfield School, Notts (see Cal. Rev., 286); 
Thomas Smith, same date, as vicar of Castle Donington, Leics; 
Thomas Matthews, same date, apparently for Worcestershire, though 
no specific charge is mentioned. He was evidently in the neighbour 
hood, however, and possibly within the Classis bounds, for on 20 Jan., 
1656-7, it was "Voted that the next Classicall lecture be kept at 
Balladon the second Thursday in Februar next and that Mr. Samuel 
More and Mr. Thomas Mathews preach then and there"26; 
Thomas Badland, 20 May, 1657, as curate of Willenhall, Staffs; 
Richard Southall, same date, as curate of Wilnecote, Warwicks^; 

26 Cal. Rev.. 345 gives this man, incorrectly, as of Emmanuel, Cambridge. 
Minute states him to be "Bachelor of Arts, late student of Maudlin 
Colledge in Oxford" matric. there "ser.", 11 Dec., 1651; B.A., 
23 Feb., 1653-4, Foster, Al. Oxon, 989. One Thomas Mathews was rector 
Edlaston, Derbys, in 1664; one of that name rector of Wolverdington, 
Warwicks, in 1667, and Thomas Matthews was instituted vicar of 
Alfreton in 1694. 

Cal. Rev., 453 as Southwell. 


*Samuel Shaw, usher at Free School, Tamworth, Warwicks, appealed to 
the Classis for ordination in order that he might become curate of 
Moseley, Worcs., and ordained thereto, 12 Jan., 1657-812?*; 
John Kaye, 20 April, 1658, for Dewsbury, Yorks, "where he preacheth 

the word and is to officiate". 

Ordained by the Classis to charges within its own bounds, or to unspecified 
cures, were : 

f*Samuel Hieron, 19 Feb., 1C51/2 not specified: became vicar of 

Shirley, Derbys, in 1657; 

Anthony Wood, same date to Addenborough; 

Robert Smalley, 19 Oct., 1652 not specified, but apparently at 
Willoughby-in-the-Wolds, Notts since 1650, and later vicar at 
Greasley, Notts; 

Samuel Moore, 15 March, 1653/4, at Ashbourne see Classis Members. 

Josiah Whiston, 21 June, 1653, at Crich not specified. Later became 

rector of Norton-juxta-Twycross, Leics : father of t willia m. the 

translator of Josephus, etc.; brother of *Edward and "Joseph; 

Henry Allsopp, same date and place to Crich, but does not seem to 

have acted as a Classis member; 
f*Samuel Ogden, 27 Sept., 1653 as minister Fairfield and Buxton, 

William Yates, 22 Aug., 1655, at Kniveton as assistant to Thos. 

Stubbing(s) at Cubley and Marston-Montgomerie, Derbys28; 
Samuel Charies, same date and place for Kniveton: see Classis Mem 

Michael Edge, 18 March, 1655/6 not stated. 
Amos Shaw, same date not stated. 
Richard Swynfen, same date for Sandiacre, Derbys; 
John Beardmore, 19 Aug., 1656 not specified : see Classis Members; 
Thomas Gorton, same date as assistant to Geo. Crosse at Chilcote, 


Thomas Egerton, to preach his approbation sermon and exhibit his 
thesis at next Classical meeting (17 June, 1656) but no further 

Samuel Trickett, 17 Dec., 1656 "minister of the Word at Bradbourn, 
within this Classis", where he succeeded Thomas Myles, q.v. See 
Classis Members. 

John Hill, 17 Dec., 1655 no charge stated; 
Mathias Hill see "Special Cases", supra. 

Daniel Shelmerdine, 20 May, 1657, as vicar of Barrow-on-Trent with 
Twyford, Derbys son of Thomas of Matlock (see Classis Members); 
James Sutton see Classis Members; 
Abraham Smith, 17 Nov., 1658 see "Special Cases"; 
Thomas Smith see "Special Cases"; 
Thomas Gilliver see "Special Cases"29; 
John Baker, 12 Jan., 1657/8 no location; 
John Kelsall, same date for Hathersage; 

27ASee Sibree & Caston, Independency in Warwickshire, 337f . 

28 William Yates, pleb., matric St. Mary Hall, Oxford, 25 Nov., 1650: 
Foster, Al. Ox on. Possibly this man. 

29 Thomas Gilliver matric, Magdalen Hall, Oxford, 2 Oct., 1652; B.A., 5 
Nov., 1656 Al. Oxon. 


Edward Mainwaring, 17 Nov., 1658 no location; 
*John Sanders, same date no location, but apparently for Boothby 

Graffoe, Lines; 

Thomas Stanhope, same date as assistant at Hartshorn, DerbysSO. 
The present vicar of Wirksworth is unable to state the whereabouts of 
the original Minute Book from which the transcript was made. The follow 
ing information about it was given by J. Charles Cox, who edited it for 
the Derbyshire Archaeological Society in 1880: 

The book is a small quarto, consisting of ninety-four leaves of 
paper, and covered with a single thickness of parchment. It begins 
with the date December 16th, 1651, and from that time to February 
21st, 1652, the entries are in the handwriting of Roger Coke, the official 
Scribe of the Presbytery. Then follow eleven blank pages. The 
entries are resumed on January 16th, 1654, by John Rudyard, who 
succeeded Coke in the office of scribe, and are continued in his hand 
writing to the end of the volume, the last date of which is November 
17th, 1658. 

On a fly-leaf at the beginning of the book is the following record : 
The Revd. Nathaniel Hubbersty3i bought this class book of Wirks 
worth Church at Mrs. Holland s sale32, August 8th, 1806, and gave 
it to Charles Hurt, junr. 

The book was traced in 1879 to the possession of Philip Hurt Esq., 
late of Wirksworth, who inherited it from his uncle, Mr. Charles Hurt, 
and placed the MS at the service of the editor. 

No other transcript of the minutes is known. Of this book Alexander 
Gordon says: 

"A model for such Minutes is to be found in those of the Wirksworth 
Presbyterian Classis (1651-58, wanting Mar. - Dec., 1654) unsurpassed 
in fullness of practical details, amounting to embodiment of the whole 
work done, and information received, by that Presbyterian Classis33. 


80 St. John s Camb., B.A., third son of Sir Edward Stanhope of Grimston 
(D.N.B.). At Restoration was episcopally ordained and instituted vicar 
of Hartshorn, Derbys, 9 May, 1663. Father of Geo. Stanhope, Dean of 
Canterbury, a voluminous writer (also D.N.B.). 

81 Mr. Hubberstey was at that time curate at Wirksworth. 

82 Qy. connected with the Holland family, of which Joseph Holland was 
minister at Charlesworth 1716-49, or of the Hollands, ministers at 
Al ostock, Cheshire. The Cheshire Classis Minutes found a first home at 

83 Cheshire Classis Minutes, Commentary, 126. 

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Balances brought forwar 
Current Account . 
Capital Account . 
Cash in Hand 

Subscriptions, 1948 
Current Subscriptio 
Arrear Subscription 
Advance Subscripti 

Congregational Uni 
and Wales 
Congregational Insi 
Printing of Index . 

Capital Account Additic 
Interest on Investments 







THE Society s Jubilee was celebrated in March with consider 
able eclat. Ihe Assembly of the Congregational Union 
passed a resolution of congratulation, and there was a large 
attendance at the Annual Meeting. The President made a survey 
of the work of the fifty years, but saddened the members by his 
inexorable resolve to demit the office. The Society has had no more 
loyal member than Dr. Grieve : he has continually kept the interests 
and aims of the Society before the churches and before his students, 
and he retires assured of the respect and affection of all of us. 
We are indeed greatly in his debt. 

Dr. Albert Peel was appointed his successor and also as Editor, 
with Dr. G. F. Nuttall as colleague in the editorial office. Mr. R. H. 
Muddiman was reappointed Treasurer, and the Rev. C. E. Surman 
Secretary, with the Rev. Harry Sellers as colleague. Warm thanks 
were expressed on every side to Mr. Surman for his indefatigable 
work, and appreciation of his Occasional Bulletins. Some of the 
fruit of that work appeared in the announcement of many new 
members, and since May a further 65 new members have been 
enrolled, among them two Life and four Corporate Members. This 
increase is encouraging, but it must be maintained if the Society 
is to remain solvent. The grant of 50 from the Congregational 
Union will be more than exhausted by this Jubilee number, and 
until the cost of printing comes down, a subscription of 5/- is not 
only "uneconomic" but limits the issue of Transactions to one 
a year. Especially should we have more Corporate Members: 
29 churches out of 3,000 isn t good enough! 

The Secretary is to be warmly congratulated on the receipt of 
the M.A. degree of the University of Manchester for his thesis, 
Classical Presbyterianism in England, 1646-1660. The Rev. W. C. 
Lazenby has received the same degree for his History of Styal, and 
the Rev. R. S. Paul the Oxford D.Phil, for his Oliver Cromwell s 
View of his Political Mission in the Light of his Theological and 
Ecclesiastical Presuppositions. These successes should stimulate 
students engaged in research, among whom many of our members 
are to be numbered. 

Work in progress for University degrees and otherwise ipcludes: 
J.W.Ashley-Smith, "The Curricula of the Dissenting Academies." 



Reginald Mansfield, "The Development of Independency in Derby 

George Everson, "Isaac Watts and Education." 
Pearce Jones, "The Idea of Union among the Independents." 
J. A. Finch, "John Angell James." 
H. D. Greenwood, "Early Nonconformity in Suffolk." 
J. H. Bennett, "Later Nonconformity in Suffolk." 
F. W. Peill-Hams, "Philip Doddridge." 
J. J. Murphy, "John Bunyan." 
W. Gordon Robinson, "Lancashire Nonconformity." 
H. McLachlan, "MSS. of Isaac Newton." 
George Walker, "Billericay Congregational Church." 

All these are members of the Society, and the list does not claim 
to be exhaustive, many others are producing local histories of merit. 

Other students are working on "William Jay" and "The Free 
Churches and Social Justice." 

* * * 

The long-awaited corpus of the writings of the Fathers of Inde 
pendency is now sufficiently advanced for a public announcement 
to be made, and a prospectus will shortly be issued. The publication 
of a literatim edition is a work of immense labour we shall soon 
be in a position to claim that we are the only person who has copied 
by hand the works of Browne, Harrison, Barrowe, Greenwood, 
and Penry! but also of great expense, and it is .only the public 
spirit of the Sir Halley Stewart Trust which has made the publication 

The series consists of seven volumes : 

I Cartwrightiana. ^ 

II The Works of Robert Browne and Robert Harrison. 
Ill and IV The Works of Henry Barrowe and John Greenwood. 

V The Works of John Penry. 
VI and VII A parte of a register. 

The series will be published for the Sir Halley Stewart Trustees 
by Geo. Allen & Unwin. The volumes will be 21 /- each; the seven 
can be obtained, if cheques are sent before the publication of Vol. 
Ill, for 126/-. Vol. I is ready for the binder, II is in the press, 
III and IV should go to press before the end of the year. It is the 
intention to issue Vol. I and II together, in the early spring if 

* * * 

Among recent losses to our membership are those of Miss Ethel 
M. Colman, a former Lord Mayor of Norwich; and Rev. Isaac 
Pugh, Secretary of the Devonshire Congregational Union. 


Congregationalism has also lost a fine scholar and historian whose 
qualities it has, it is to be feared, failed fully to appreciate. Dr. 
H. W. Clark was in pastoral work for but a short time, and he 
did not fit easily into the ordinary life of the churches; but he had 
many gifts, and the list of books standing to his name is by no 
means short. It includes volumes of poems, of theology, and of 
secular history, including a History of the British Empire. But 
it is his History of English Nonconformity from Wyclif to the end 
of the 19th Century (1911-13) which will live: it will not content 
those who think that history is concerned only with facts and dates, 
but those who believe that ideas and trends are important will find 
it full of suggestion for many years to come. 

* * * 

As we go to press, the sad news has been received of a still severer 
loss to our Society. Dr. Albert Peel, the Editor of these Transactions 
since 1924 and so recently elected our President, died unexpectedly 
in a Glasgow nursing home on the 3rd November, 1949. Earlier 
paragraphs in this Editorial, which comes from his pen, show how 
full of plans for continuing work he remained to the end. A tribute 
to his unstinting services to our Society will be printed in our next 


* * * 

With this number of the Transactions appears the index to 
volume XV. 

The Church Covenant in Independency 

[This address, given by Prof. J. Morgan Jones of Bangor to the 
Welsh Union of Independents in 1916, has been translated by 
Prof. W. A. Davies and shorn of its topical references. A useful 
book on the subject is C. Burrage, The Church Covenant 
Idea, 1904.] 

WAR ought to impel every body of religious people to ask 
itself serious questions concerning the purpose of its own 
existence, its place and its message and its own responsi 
bility in the wprk of furthering the Gospel and adapting it to the 
new situation. If it cannot justify its existence by showing that 
it has work to do which no other body of people whatsoever can 
do quite so well as itself, why cumbereth it the ground ? Whatever 
else war does it drives us like almost every other religious body 
far from our original moorings in history. We have been driven 
for the most part into the far country of the Prodigal Son to eat 
the husks the swine did eat, and our first task is to come to ourselves, 
back to our right mind if we are to regain our proper place in 
society, and our self-respect as the medium of the revelation of the 
will of God "the calling to which we have been called." What right 
have we to live apart from other denominations but for the special 
service that we can give our nation which no other body of people 
in the world can give? Is there such a place for us as Independents 
in the plan of God, a plae that will be vacant forever unless fi led 
by us, or else by some body of chosen people like ourselves that 
God must create because of our negligence? If there be an answer 
anywhere to such a question it will be found in our history, and 
in the roots of our history. But one of the dangers of war is to 
persuade almost every association of people to cut the lifeline that 
holds them to the roots of its history and of its beginnings, and 
that peril is greater for our Independent Churches than for any 
other association. It will be well for us, therefore, above all others, 
to seek the company of the founders of our first Churches in order 
to recover something of their inspiration and their spirituality, and 
to follow their faith. May a double portion of their spirit descend 
upon us. 

The chief aim of this paper is to show how a renewed contact 
with the tombs of the fathers can instil life into our dry bones and 
enable us to give an Independent answer to some of the most serious 
questions of the day, and restore again sense and balance to our 
life and our work. And it is no unpleasant task for me to seek 


to achieve this end by calling your attention to one important 
element in the founding of the earliest Independent Churches, an 
element that has not hitherto received the attention it deserves from 
our historians. By today, enough incontestable proofs have been 
discovered of the fact that one of the characteristics distinguishing 
our earliest Independent and Congregational Churches from every 
other body of religious people, the special peculiarity of their life 
and character, was that, without exception, they were founded on 
and through a Church Covenant of an exceptional and remarkable 
nature. It is true that they were not the first to discover the idea 
of a religious covenant. This is as old at least as the earliest 
thinkers and prophets of the people of Israel. Neither did they 
discover the idea of a Church Covenant as a bond of union and 
communion; but in their origin and early history, the Church 
Covenant was raised to honour and influence. They made it the 
centre of the life of the Church. Above all, their Covenant bears 
upon it a sufficiently distinctive stamp to make it a new thing in 
the history of the world. Subsequently it had its own important 
place, not only in the history of the Independents but in the history 
of the development of democracy among the peoples; the Constitu 
tion of the U.S.A., for instance, is but the adaptation of the Church 
Covenant of the Independents. This indeed is the only authoritative 
and official document in all our history as a denomination, and it 
was not only by the founding of an Independent Church that the 
Covenant came to its place in our history. The first Independent 
Churches had also an interesting custom of "renewing the 
Covenant" formally and seriously after every important event or 
crisis in their history. I suggest to you that this is a time for us 
to do something similar, namely renew the old simple Covenant that 
formerly we made with one another and with our God. 

While saying all this, I do not forget the laudable attempt that 
is made nowadays to unite the denominations, but the first condition 
of success in every such effort is the fidelity of each denomination 
to the Gospel, and the resolve of each denomination to do its own 
special work as the servant of the Gospel. Nor do I forget either 
that we as Christian Churches are face to face with the most serious 
crisis in our history, that the British Empire is also in imminent 
peril, not so much of being destroyed by external enemies as of 
losing the rich inheritance won in and for her by the Puritans. 

I would suggest to you that one of the most effective ways of 
furthering union among the denominations and of facing the most 
important problems thrust upon our notice by war, and of calling 
us as a denomination back to our proper work, is to resurrect and 
renew in spirit our old Church Covenants, and seek to see in and 


through them our message, our service, and our own special 
responsibility to the world. 

To this end I will lay before you six of the oldest Covenants of 
the Independent Churches. They represent fairly, I think, the most 
important characteristics of the first sixty years of their history 
as well as the ideas and aims of the founders and leaders of the 
Churches in that period the ideals of the most active promoters 
of the Congregational Movement in the time of Cromwell brought 
new, though not better, elements into the churches and the 
denomination of the Independents. 

Here are descriptions of the contents of the first three Covenants 
that are on record. The other three are to be found on the lips 
of the Churches themselves. 

1. Covenant of the Church at Norwich founded in 1581 by Robert 

"A Covenant was made, and all agreed individually to cleave 
faithfully to one another. The first thing that was done was 
to agree voluntarily to cleave together to the Lord in one 
Covenant and Communion, and to keep and seek union with 
one another under His laws and His rule." 

In these words Robert , Browne, himself the father of Indepen 
dency, describes the formation of one of the first Independent 
Congregational Churches. 

Also very similar to this is the description we have of the 
Covenant of the Church that came together first in London about 
1587, but was formally constituted by Barrow and Greenwood in 
1592. Of this Church John Penry became a member. Quite brief 
and simple was their vow to one another and to God. 

2. Covenant of the Churches of Gainsborough and Scrooby in 1602. 
"As the free people of the Lord they agree with one another 

as a Church in the fellowship of the Gospel and in Covenant 

with God to walk in all His ways as it had been revealed 

to them already or would be revealed to them in time to come, 

to the limit of their power, cost what it may to them." 

Here is the Covenant of the most famous church in the early 

history of the Independents a church of the Pilgrims who wandered 

over the face of the earth seeking a place whereon to lay their head 

and an opportunity to keep their Covenant holy and to obey their 

conscience. This is the Covenant that cost houses and lands, homes 

and friends, country and life, to keep it the Covenant that was 

carried as a precious treasure to Leyden and Plymouth in America 

the Covenant of John Smyth, Henry Ainsworth and John Robinson, 


the greatest heroes of faith, freedom, and conscience in the histo:.y 
of the world. 

3. Covenant of the Church of Southwark, founded in 1616 by Henry 

"And they standing in a circle hand in hand made a serious 
Covenant with one another in the presence of Almighty God 
to walk together in all His ways s^o far as He l*as revealed them 
hitherto or will reveal them further." 

It was the minister of this Church and the successor of Henry Jacob 
who came to Llanfaches to help William Wroth to establish the 
first Independent Church in Wales in 1639, and although I have 
no incontestable proof of it, there is little doubt in my mind that 
it was on this Covenant that the Church of Llanfaches was founded. 
It is unfortunate that the early Covenants of Wales those before 
1700 have not yet been discovered. It was in the Church at 
Southwark for the most part that the fugitives from Wales became 
members at the time of the rebellion, and amongst them, Walter 

4. Covenant of the Church at Yarmouth in 1642. 

"We make herewith a serious Covenant with one another. 
(1) We will for ever acknowledge and confess God as our God 
in Jesus Christ. (2) We will endeavour to the limit of our 
strength always God s grace helping us to walk in His ways 
and ordinances in accordance with His written Word, the only 
sufficient rule of the good life for every man. (3) We will not 
be soiled by any sinful ways public or secret, but we will keep 
ourselves from every appearance of evil without causing offence 
to either Jew or Gentile or to the Churches of Christ. (4) We* 
will do our best, out of true love, to improve and strengthen 
our communion with one another as brethren by watching over 
each other, and according to need we will exhort, reprove, 
comfort, help and bear with one another in patience, subjecting 
ourselves to the rule of Christ in His Church. (5) All this we 
promise, not in our own strength but in the power of Christ. 
Nor will we confine ourselves to the words of this Covenant 
but we will ever deem it an obligation upon us to receive all 
further light and truth that may be revealed to us in the 
Word of God." 

This Covenant is given here as an example of the more detailed 
form of the Covenants, and because the influence of this Church 
reached far. A number of other Churches were established by it 
and through it. 


5. Covenant of Bury St. Edmunds, 1646. 

"We whose names are below resolve and vow through the help 
of God s Spirit to walk in all the ways of God as they have 
already been revealed to us, or will be further revealed to us 
in His Word, while loving and watching over one another as 
becomes the Church of Christ." 

6. Covenant of Denton, 1676. 

"We covenant and pledge ourselves through the help of God s 
Spirit to commit ourselves wholly to the Lord, and to His 
people, to walk in all the ordinances of Christ according to the 
order of the Gospel, and to acknowledge Him as our Head, 
our Lord and our King." 
These Covenants are representative. 

Before commenting at all on the meaning and characteristics of 
these Covenants permit me to call your attention to one general 
feature of them. Note they are not separate Covenants unrelated 
to one another but different forms of the same Covenant. The 
impress of the same spirit and the same purpose is upon them all. 
In essence they are saying the same thing. That is the most effective 
proof of their unity, the sign of the strong bond that bound the 
Independent Churches with one another amidst and because of their 
independence and their freedom. They are all characterized by 
four special features, especially noteworthy in that age, and all the 
four are expressed in each Covenant in almost the same words. The 
four may be summed up each in a short sentence : 
x (l) A voluntary Covenant as a foundation of the Church. 

(2) The Christian experience and the moral life as the aim of 
the Church. 

(3) Christ as the standard, as the authority and Head of the 

(4) Freedom of thought and of conscience as the condition of the 
Church s continuance. 

These are the chief things stated clearly and openly in and by these 
Covenants. These are the vows made for us and in our name by 
our fathers when we were baptized in their blood. Has their promise 
been wholly fulfilled by us? Has the Covenant been honestly kept? 
We know well enough it has not. In many a period, not to mention 
these latter days, we have run to do the work of every denomination 
but our own. Our special task is to keep the vows our fathers made 
and to turn our energies to keep the Covenant of our denomination, 
to explain it to the world, defend and justify it before the best minds 
in the world, and thereby commend the great Gospel to men. This 


is the religious, moral and intellectual work entrusted to us, and 
there is greater need of it today than ever before. The work, God 
knows, is great enough and hard enough and honourable enough. 
Hidden within the simple and clear words of these Covenants are 
not only promises most difficult to keep in practice, but also a great 
many of the most stubborn problems in the realm of the intellect 
with reference to the nature of the Church, to the meaning and 
place and value of theology and of Christian Ethics intricate 
problems which the world must unravel if we are to come out of 
this chaos and confusion without completely losing ourselves. Nor 
are they a number of detached, scattered and unrelated problems 
but one big complex problem to be unravelled altogether if at all. 
When the nature of the Church is determined, then at the same time 
is determined the value of the moral life and the meaning of Christ s 
authority and the rights of conscience. The explanation of the 
meaning of Jesus Christ s authority will at the same time give its 
place and meaning to the moral life and to the Church. We shall 
later on have an opportunity to emphasize this fact when noting 
the characteristics and message of the Covenants. 

The first thing to emphasize in regard to all these Churches is 
that they are free Churches gathered from out of the world, founded 
on a voluntary Covenant between brethren of the same faith, a 
definite Covenant with the Lord and with one another. They were 
not established by any prescribed law or any external authority, 
but by small companies of people in obedience to their consciences 
and in face of every civil law of their day Independent Churches 
separated from all civil and secular authority and regulation, not 
only Independent in their constitution but in their life and spirit. 
They claimed an independent empire for themselves depending 
solely on the conscience enlightened by Christ. It was natural, 
it is natural, for the world to ask: What kind of a Church is this 
that acknowledges no authoritative theological creed nor priestly 
office nor prescribed law nor political arrangement as the basis and 
bond of union, but is a law to itself? It is a call to us to demonstrate 
the truth of such a conception of the nature of the Church in our 
everyday living, first of all as Churches, but also to the best minds 
of the world through a consistent and complete doctrine. On what 
terms can the law and the Gospel, the life of the world and such 
a Church co-exist? What evangelical connection can exist between 
the Church and the State ? At what point does influence on public 
life become ecclesiastical interference with matters not belonging 
to the proper sphere of the life and thought of the Church as such? 
What moral claim has the State on the Church, and the Church 
on the State? What have the Independents to do with a Church 


or Churches that stand not above and without but within and 
subject to political systems, a Churcih that becomes servile to the 
military and political authorities, a Church that has no message 
in a great crisis but to say Yes or No at the behest of the State ? 

Is it not indeed full time for us to seek to determine whether we 
really believe and are ready to defend, in peace and in war, to the 
limit of our power in the words of the Gainsborough Church 
covenant cost what it may the conception of the nature of the 
Church which is at .the root of the Covenants of our earliest 
churches? If our Churches have a right to their name and their 
history, it is high time for us to put more seriousness, and more 
moral and intellectual energy into the attempt to prove our claim 
in life as in word, in doctrine as in experience, instead of shouting 
for Disestablishment yesterday and tying our destiny to the apron- 
strings of the State today. Milton could direct his appeal to us 
as formerly to Cromwell. "Yet much remains to conquer still." 

But as already seen, there is no full answer to our question 
regarding the nature of the Church, nor will there be respect for 
these Covenants conceptions of the nature of the Church without 
a deeper consideration of the second principle that is thrust upon 
our attention, namely, the supremacy of the Christian moral life 
over everything, every system and every department of life in 
the world. 

Every one of these Covenants acknowledges as its aim and 
it is the only aim mentioned for their integration as Churches the 
right and duty and endeavour of each member to live a personal 
moral Christian life in God s presence. Their definite promise and 
their only promise to one another and to God is "to walk in all 
the ways of the Lord." 

Whatever matter is referred to in these Covenants it is touched 
upon only to emphasize the moral element in it. When the 
Yarmouth Covenant mentions God, what it says is, "We acknow 
ledge and confess God as our God in Jesus Christ." The personal 
moral relationship fills the mind obeying His will and submitting 
to His rule. When it mentions the Bible it mentions it as "the 
only sufficient rule of the good life for every man." 

Even when speaking of Christ it is neither the doctrine of His 
Person, nor even His teaching that fills their mind, but inclining 
the soul and the will to His active rule. 

There is no word in any of these Covenants about any theological 
creed or any formal doctrine as a condition of membership and 
Church fellowship. This is true in the letter and in the spirit of 
every Independent Church known to us for three-quarters of a 
century. Many of them definitely refused to base fellowship on 


an agreement in theological doctrines. One of the signs of their 
decadence and of their weak compromise with the ways of the 
world in the days of Cromwell was the craving that beset them 
after the middle of the 17th Century to formulate Creeds. Neither 
is there mention in any of them of Church Government, despite 
the large place it took in our history. It is clear that it was not 
their special views on Church Government that impelled the earliest 
Independents to form Churches gathered out of the world and 
separated from the world and from the Church of England, but 
a much more important and deeper reason. 

I am not going to say that the Independent Fathers had not a 
sufficiently definite theology with their special ideas of Church 
Government. Nearly every one of them was a rabid narrow 
Calvinist in his theological views and Congregational in his views 
as to Church Government, though they disagreed in their view 
of the meaning and place and number of the functions of the 
Church; but the important thing to note is that there is no mention 
of them in their Covenant. It was not to promote any special 
theological doctrine nor even any special form of Church Govern 
ment that our first Churches were founded but rather to foster a 
religious experience, a purer moral life and a more Christian walk 
in active obedience to the will of God and to the ordinances of 
Christ. Every form of Church Government and theology was but 
a secondary matter to them. I wonder, is there not also need for 
us to perceive this vision much more clearly and to keep more 
faithfully to it? What Independent reason can there be for the 
talk now and again heard of some "fundamental doctrines" that 
would, it is said, make a splendid Creed whereon to found the 
union of the denominations? Seriously, is it not time for us to 
turn back to the simple positions of our wisest Fathers and to say 
clearly and definitely that, however important any doctrine may 
ibe in a body of theology, there is but one thing only that is 
fundamental in the Church, and that is the practical experience of 
the power of the love of God in Christ to save, and an earnest 
endeavour to live a life full of love, and a moral walk humble 
before God and serviceable to men? 

If we are to remain Independents in spirit as in name, we must 
see the central and supreme value that the universe reveals in the 
moral life, and be prepared at need to sacrifice everything else for 
its sake, keeping nothing back, and we must moralize our idea of 
God, Christ and the Church, the State and all the relationships 
of the life of man. If we lack sufficient courage to do this, morality 
will in the end lose all important significance in the practice thereof; 
the State will become a tyranny, the Church a State-institution, 


its form of Government a formalism, its theology a fetter, its 
conscience caprice, and its religion superstition. The supremacy 
of the moral life as obedience to the will of God and the ripest fruit 
of the Christian faith is at the root of our Independent Churches, 
but it calls for its realization and for a much more effective proof 
in practice and in doctrine than we have ever yet given. How far 
we are from any final system of Ethics that would give us an 
intellectual right to transfer the lordship of our personal and social 
life to the charge of the moral principles of Christianity ! In face 
of the intricate problems of Christian Ethics war presses heavily 
upon us, we Independents above all others are called by our history 
to meet their demands. Is there such a thing as a Christian Ethic 
that arises naturally and inevitably out of the heart of our Christian 
faith? Is it possible in a world like this for individual persons, 
or even a body of people, a nation, a state, an empire to do their 
work and live their life in obedience to the laws and principles 
of that Ethic? Is there -truth in the idea that sped so quickly 
through the country in these latter days, that Christian morality 
is something relating to the life of the individual man and not to 
the life of nations and to their relation with one another? Without 
any further comment on them, I will say again there is a straight 
and direct road from these Covenants to the heart of a host of 
similar questions, and they place a special responsibility upon our 
shoulders to seek a clear answer to them as questions of life and 
death for us. It is part of the Lord s vineyard, and an urgent call 
to us to cultivate and to enrich it. 

Once again it is clear that every treatment of Christian Ethics 
must concentrate on the significance and the extent of the authority 
of the person of Jesus Christ in practical life, the claim of Jesus 
Christ to be acknowledged as the final revelation of the moral will 
of the God and Lord of our life and that of the nations. As we 
have seen, these Covenants all unite in saying that the meaning 
and the essence of the new moral and spiritual life consists in a 
limitless absolute and unconditional obedience to Him and to His 
word. Their vow is to "walk together in all the ordinances of 
Christ according to the order of the Gospel," and "to acknowledge 
Him as our Head, our Lord and our King to the limit of our power 
and by the help of the Lord cost what it may" : so said the Church 
at Gainsborough. The submission of the soul and the life to His 
rule in everything gives meaning to the gospel for them, for said 
Robert Browne, "His message cannot exist apart from His rule." 
In other words, there is no such thing as a Gospel apart from the 
practical acknowledgment of His authority and a moral obedience 
to His rule. 


An important part of our work as the children of these Covenants 
is to justify these serious words, and to seek to expound and defend 
their deepest meaning to the understanding, heart, and conscience 
of the world. What is the length and breadth, the height and depth 
of the moral authority of Christ over the life of man? What is 
the meaning of His kingly rule over the Church? What is the 
difference between acknowledging the authority of His words and 
acknowledging the dominance of His person? How can we justify 
a Covenant that demands a limitless obedience to Him? What 
theological doctrine of His Person will best answer to, or give the 
best explanation for, the full submission of the moral life to Jesus 
Christ? We all know that the theology that puts such questions 
as these at its centre and heart has not been discovered. Whence 
shall it come if not from the full experience, the strong faith and 
the responsible freedom of the children of the Covenants of the 
first Independent Churches? 

Here again every treatment of the authority of Christ drives us 
one step further faced with the principle which is not only a 
definite article in these Covenants, but also adorns every sentence 
in them. That principle is freedom of thought and of conscience 
the claim of conscience to an unequivocal and instant obedience 
as the infallible guide of the personal life the conscience of which 
Bishop Butler said "Had it strength as it has right, had it power 
as it has manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the world." 

"To wa k in all His ways so far as they have already been 
revealed or as they shall be revealed to them in time to come" is 
the phrase used for the most part in these Covenants to keep alive 
the rights of conscience and freedom of opinion, if need be even 
against their own voluntary Covenant. 

"We will not confine ourselves to the words of this Covenant," 
said the Yarmouth Church, "but we will esteem it an obligation 
upon us always to receive all further light and truth as may be 
revealed to us." The voice of the Spirit in the Word and in the 
heart is every day anew to be listened to and obeyed whithersoever 
it may call cost what it may houses and lands, homes and 
friends, country and life if need be. They humbly acknowledged 
that more light and truth can yet break from the Word of God for 
their mind and life. They claimed freedom not licence or caprice 
but freedom to obey the definite call of the Spirit whencesoever it 
came and whithersoever it led. To the Independent Churches was 
definitely entrusted the work of securing and defending the worth 
and sacredness of the individual person in his conscience and his 
freedom even against the whole power and authority of the State. 
Freedom of opinion and of speech and the rights of conscience 


ought to be safe in the hands of the children of the Covenant (of 
all people) however difficult the work of protecting them and how 
ever complex the circumstances. We are a body of people with our 
history of a Covenant with our God and with one another to 
acknowledge the right and duty of the weakest of mankind to yield 
full and instant obedience to his conscience, but the Covenant will 
not be kept if we only remember it in fair weather. Nor will it be 
kept without our seeking to explain and expound much more 
effectively the meaning and origin of the rights of conscience, its 
relation to the authority of Christ, the relation of faith to freedom, 
the meaning and limits of the authority of the Churches and of the 
State and a host of similar problems on the basis of our full 
experience of the truth of the Gospel in our own lives. Here I am 
now nearly at the end of my journey seeking to describe the most 
important features of the Covenant of our denomination the call 
that comes from it to us its children, and the special duties and 
privileges that are implicit in its simple articles. To sum up: 

We are Churches gathered out of the world and independent of 
the world. Our first Churches were founded on a voluntary and 
remarkable Covenant. They were created to foster a moral Christian 
life, personal and social. They saw the meaning and power and 
essence of that life in a limitless, sincere and unconditional obedience 
to God in Christ, as He would reveal Himself from day to day 
more fully and more clearly in the conscience of every man. If 
we are not to cut the connections with the roots of our history and 
our life, we must renew this Covenant by proving that a healthy 
and useful Church can live under such conditions as these by an 
increasing active obedience to Christ, cost what it may, and by 
securing and defending the right of every man to do likewise in 
obedience to his conscience according to the measure of the light 
and truth he received from the Spirit. As a help to keep such a 
Covenant we are called upon to expound and defend it to the best 
minds of the world by expounding and defending unequivocally 
the sublime idea transmitted to us of the nature of the Church by 
treating in more detail and more courageously the problems of 
Christian Ethics by revealing the origin, expounding the meaning, 
and supporting the claim of the Lord Jesus Christ to an uncon 
ditional moral obedience, and by revealing the overwhelming need 
for freedom of opinion and of conscience as the constant and 
indispensable accompaniment of every pure holy Church, of every 
strong moral life and of all due allegiance to every (honest and 
efficient State. This is our fine heritage from the Independent 
Fathers, and no one of the characteristics of the inheritance can 
live for long without the others. An Independent Church is 


impossible without a strong moral and personal experience of 
the salvation and of the happiness that comes through a ready 
obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ; and thte effective acknowledg 
ment of the moral authority of Jesus Christ will be impossible except 
througn a ready obedience to conscience. Today they are in greater 
danger than ever before, and from the same quarter; and that is 
the senseless supposition that the State is the highest and supreme 
value in the world, and that everything else must give way to the 
effort to keep alive the State. An Independent Church is in danger 
from the craving to justify the existence and works of the Church 
in the eyes of the State. The supremacy of the moral life is in 
danger from the militarism that takes more account of a cannon 
than of man as a moral being, and from politics that makes the 
existence of a particular Government an end more important than 
the Kingdom of Heaven. The authority of Jesus Christ is in danger 
from the opinion that the very mention of "military necessity" is 
enough to settle every question on earth and in heaven. 

These dangers have been added to every other danger that always 
threatens the free Church, the incomparable worth of morality, the 
authority of Jesus Christ, and the rights of conscience and freedom. 
If there be any meaning at all in the Covenant and history of the 
Independents, it is we who ought to be in the front ranks of the 
defenders of these human-divine possessions, for in them is our sole 
inheritance and we were created to keep them alive. Our experience 
of their incomparable worth is poor because the mighty spirit of 
Jesus has not become the disposition of our soul. If there were 
ever need for prayer on the lip and in the heart of the Independents, 
behold, the day is come to knock at the door of heaven and to turn 
to unwearied labour which will make us worthy of our history 
and of our Lord. 

Some Seventeenth-Century Testimonies 

[John Rogers (1627-1665?) is known mainly for his Fifth Monarchist 
opinions, but in 1653, when he was minister of the Congregational 
church worshipping in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, he still 
he d "the normal Independent standpoint": cf. D.N.B.] 

THE recounting of religious experiences plays no unimportant 
part in the heritage of Congregationalism. This essay draws 
attention to a collection of experiences incorporated in John 
Rogers book on Church government, A Tabernacle for the Sun, 
1653. There are nearly forty examples, covering sixty pages, and 
all but one were given in Dublin before the congregation of his 

There are two types of testifying. One is used as a condition 
of joining the Church and the other as a means of evangelism. In 
introducing the testimonies, Rogers te Is us why he desires testifying. 
He has three main reasons: the preservation of the purity of the 
Church; the development of humility and tolerance in the congrega 
tion; and the teaching of others to believe. 

Concerning joining the Church, Rogers says, 

Every one to be admitted, gives out some experimental 
evidences of the work of grace upon his soul (for the Church 
to judge of) whereby he (or she) is convicted of God, . . . 
This was an attempt to distinguish the elect from the unelect, 
believers from mere assenters, to have a Church of visible saints, 
and shows Anabaptist rather than Calvinist influence. But there 
are many good Christians who cannot speak in public. Rogers 
tells the story of an inarticulate woman whose application had 
been set aside for a month because she was so dumb and the 
Church consequently doubtful. She burst into tears and reminded 
them of their pastor s words the previous Lord s day: that Christ 
called us freely, and that those who came to Him He would in no 
wise put by. Her claim upon this promise overcame the doubts 
of the Church. It is necessary to be most sympathetic to those 
whose answers to the easy questions which members put to them 
were faltering, as Rogers says, "merely savouring of grace". 

His love for souls was too great to fail to recognize and meet 
this difficulty. 

... if any is to be admitted that is very unable to speak in 

i The caption to Chapter VI, book II, op. cit. 



publike (I mean) in the Church, as some Maids, and others 
that are bashful (or the like). Then the Church chooses out 
some whom she sees fit, against the next Assembly to take 
in private the account of Faith, the evidences of Gods worke 
of grace upon his or her heart, which they either take in writing, 
and bring in into the Church, or else (which is most approved) 
when that person is to be admitted, they doe declare by word 
of mouth, whilst some easie questions are (notwithstanding) 
asked of him (or her) for the Churches satisfaction, and for 
the confirmation of what was before delivered in private to 
the brethren. 2 

At least two of the testimonies in the collection were written down 
before they were delivered to the congregation. John Cooper had 
a strange dream which he conveyed to the Church "writ down as 
I remembred it" and Humphrey Mills experience is described 
as "given in". 

Those who testify in public are "the ablest of the Brethren". 
The order in which they are to speak is arranged previous y and 
it seems that eight or ten on one occasion is normal. Those which 
we have in the collection were given in two public places in Dublin, 
Brides and Michaels, and served as preparation for the embodying 
of the Church on August 12th, 165 1 3 , in which the same ordinance 
of prophesying was performed 4 . Rogers calls the practice plainly 
"useful" but one applicant for Church membership, Rebecca Rich, 
speaks movingly. 

I was much comforted and confirmed even last night in 
Michaels publique place, by the Ordinance of prophesying one 
by one, which the Church kept so sweetly, and I was very 
much convinced of your walking together in love and unity 
of spirit 5 . 

It is interesting to note in passing the part women played in 
testifying in the Dublin Church. Rebecca Rich is one of many 
who give their experiences. In most seventeenth-century congre 
gations women only contributed by proxy but the Dublin Church 
was enlightened and they held all the privileges of members though 
never offices, preaching, teaching or ruling . If women could not 

ibid.. l.II.p.293. 

1. II. p. 368. 

1. II. cap. Ill deals with embodying. 


Rogers on women in the Church, see l.II.pp.563ff.. the chapter entitled 



be preachers, they came close to it in prophesying. Ann Megson s 
testimony is a miniature sermon, three points and all ! She quotes 
Nazianzus in Greek and Luther in Latin; she illustrates with three 
similes and makes an exposition of Joel iii.10. Moreover, her con 
cluding words suggest that prophesying was a regular feature of 
her membership. 

Naturally no two experiences in the collection are alike yet many 
common features may be discerned. Allowance must be made 
for a possible tendency to assimilation by the recorder, who 
acknowledges abbreviating what he heard. Some repetitiveness may 
be accounted for, if we visualize many testifiers following one 
another. The style of the unlettered person would tend to be 
modified and shaped by those who preceded him. The characteristics 
common to a many of the testimonies are to be found in the 
experience of Jeremy Hayward, which explains why it has been 
so ruthlessly precised. 

The Lord hath opened my eyes to see sin, and showne me 
my self, and I lay under his wrath half a year, and so long as 
1 sought to make out my own righteousness, I lay thus; and 
yet this while, I followed the meanes, heard the Word, and I 
saw at length nothing but Christ would serve me, and till then 
I would have no comfort, wherefore one first day of the week, 
I fell to prayer, I prayed thrice, and at the third time I heard 
him say, Loe! my grace is sufficient for thee; whereby I was 
much satisfied ere since, rowling my self on Christ, and living 
in him alone; and I find so great a change, that I can say, 
whereas I was blinde, now I am sure I see. 

Whilst so brief an account of so great a change is inadequate and 
it has but the lightest touches of enthusiasm, it mentions many 
of the salient points in the common experience of conversion 
recited by these people. These points are: (1) The realization of 
sin, and within oneself. (2) A period of struggle, God s wrath, 
suffering or hell causing unrest. Bondage to fear. (3) The attempt 
to earn salvation (formalism and self -righteousness). (4) The means 
are followed, especially hearing the Word. (5) Redemption comes 
through Christ at a moment of emotional tension. Prayer is often 
mentioned. (6) Extraordinary phenomena such as the voice in the 
above story. (7) The quotation of Scripture. (8) The feeling of 
satisfaction, sometimes expressed in language which tends to be 
extravagant, as "rowling my self on Christ". The person testifies 
to his changed, regenerate condition. 


The evidence suggests that unless the applicant for Church mem 
bership showed signs of repentance there was no hope of his 
acceptance. Only two of the testifiers do not mention sin at all 
and these are converted from legalism and formalism to the Gospel 
of Grace 7 . Some have an intense horror of sin and others admit 
backsliding 8 . John Chamberlain, "a grievous wretch" as a lad 
and cast out of doors for disobedience, became member of a Church 
where discipline was lax, but he was much troubled by "Contract 
with a woman which I could not owne" and hence "brake out 
into sinne". Somehow he was restored but then he went soldiering 
and was "thereby brought under many Temptations to sin, 
especially that vile lust of Drunkennesse". This sin beset William 
Walker, another backslider. 

. . . too much I was given to drinking, till Mr. Strong told 

me, Brother, I hear strange things of you, that you are given 

to drinking, &c. which so smit me, with the abuses I received 

abroad by the profane sort, who said, (O this is one of Fowlers 

followers 9 ) that I was wounded in my spirit a long time, that 

I should bring such a scandal upon the Gospel, and a blemish: 

He goes on to tell how "the Lorde recovered" him and gave him 

"resolution and power against the sin". 

Many of the testimonies reveal moral and spiritual sensitivity 
at an early age. Elizabeth Avery commenced to worry about sin 
through playing on the Sabbath as a small girl. Rogers himself 
as a boy, was stirred spiritually as well as physical^ when his 
minister caught him sleeping during the sermon. John Bywater, 
another preacher, says, 

When I was a little one, going to School, God began with 
me; for once I swore one Oath (as I was playing with my 
Schoolfellows) but I were presently struck with horror for it, 
and sense of it, as if I were to go to Hell for it presently; . . . 
I went into the Church-Porch . . . and wept bitterly to my 
self . . . 

But older people were also brought to repentance through troubled 
consciences. Mary Bun-ill s conviction came through her second 

I have been infinitely troubled by my marriage to my second 
husband, and have been afflicted in Conscience about it much, 

7 Tabitha Kelsal; and Edward Hoar. 

8 John Chamberlain, William Walker and John Osborne. 
Probably Christopher Fowler (D.N.B.). 


till the Lord gave me comfort within that my sins were for 
given me. 

The suggestion is that second marriage might be against the will 
of God, and from this doubt she was eventually delivered. One 
testimony is that of an old lady, Mary Turrant. 

... the Lord hath spared me in mine old age; and now I see 
why? That I may enjoy this great mercy, which I never 
looked for, to comlort me in my old age. 
Many factors combined to lead up to and consummate conversion. 
In the first place there was home influence. Elizabeth Avery 
alludes to her father as a "godly man", but the longest story of 
home influence is of a Puritan father whose discipline drove his 
son, Raphael Swinfield, from home. (Lawrence Swinfield had a 
similar experience and may have been his brother). 

. . . although I were well brought up (and instructed) yet I 
was very disobedient, ... for I could not endure to be curbed 
or kept in; but at length, because of his continual (and yet 
justly) reproving me for my ill courses, and ill company which 
I kept, I resolved I would stay at home no longer, but I would 
be gone into the Low-Countreys, and we were put out to Sea, 
but by contrary Winds and Seas were driven back again; 
But I could not see this, but still held on my purpose, and 
having an opportunity, I got away for all that into England; 

To the example of parents we must add the example of friends. 
John Chamberlain, whom we have already quoted, compliments 
his fellow-apprentice thus: 

... the example of my Fellow-Prentice (who was well-given) 
wrought much upon mee; and hee seemed to mee to doe all for 
Heaven, and to minde Heaven altogether, which began to 
incline mee much that way too, and at one time I went to him, 
and desired him to own me, and to let me be with him, and 
partake, but hee told mee hee must not cast bread to Dogs, 
which troubled mee much; but then I remembered to say, But 
I may have the cnimmes, and thence forward was hee willing 
to help mee all he could; 

In the case of Hugh Leeson there is domestic and maybe romantic 
influence, for Christ s work in him was, as he puts it, 

begun at first by my Wife, a Widow s daughter in this Town, 
a godly Christian, and whom God made the first Instrument 
of my good; by her often reading of the Scriptures to me, and 
giving me good councels and admonitions . . . 

But Mrs. Leeson s task was not easy for her husband yet did "hate 


the Saints, and forbid many of them coming to my house". The 
pastoral work of Mr. Rogers, however, put this right. These 
references illustrate the importance of ordinary Christian witness 
in leading men to conversion in the seventeenth century. 

Sometimes it was some terrible experience which precipitated 
conversion. Frances Curtis, during the Irish rebellion, was "stripped 
by the rebels", and having returned home "through sad tempests", 
heard a rumour that her husband was murdered. Then "Canon- 
bullets flew over my head; and in a few days I was turned out of 
doors with my childe in my arms". That God heard her prayers 
and delivered her and her family brought her to the Church. Andrew 
Manwaring had lost his father in the rebellion; his wife was injured, 
and he, atter "Tredah-fight" 10 "laid in the field among the dead, 
with fifteen wounds". This made him "sensible of his sins" and 
later, grateful for God s mercy, and he sought the Word. 

The Word is one of the "means" which are mentioned by more 
than half the testifiers. From the experiences of this Dublin Church, 
we gather that the means includes praying, preaching, reading, 
meditating, the Word and Ordinances, especially Baptism and the 
Lord s Supper, and it also may include private meetings or meetings 
of the members. It is significant that the object of the means of 
grace is the individual and not the Church. 

A determination to follow the means is often accompanied, at 
least at first, by a pious legalism. Captain Hoar "frequented the 
means, and did too much depend upon his doings, and rely on 
works". Jeremy Hayward "sought to make out his own righteous- 
nesse" while following the means. Humphry Mills says, 

I was three years together wounded for sins, and under a 
sense of my corruptions, which were many; and I followed 
Sermons, pursuing the means, and was constant in duties, and 
doing; looking for Heaven that way: And then I was so precise 
for outward formalities, That I censured all to be reprobates, 
that wore their hair any thing long, and not short above the 
ears; or that wore great Ruffs, and Gorgets 11 , or Fashions, and 

These found true Christian liberty, but we learn also of those who 
turned antinomian. Below is printed part of the testimony of 
Tabitha Kelsall, with the marginal comments alongside. 

10 A reference to the surrender of Drogheda in June, 1649. 

11 An ornamental collar. 


. . . after this I was lifted up to much by know 
ledge, and withdrew from Ordinances, but see- 
She saw other m S now some mat did so, and denied Ordi- 
p nances; and did live disorderly, and walke 
wickedly, ! was much troubled at it, and yet 
wickedly. left in ^ wildernesse a long time after untill 
Called in God did discover by his word to me, and declare 
again by the clearly that I must not withdraw from the Ordi- 
word, and nances, nor deny communion with his people, 
and then I made a Covenant with the Lord, 
that I would not, and that I would part with 
Covenant a |i f or one sm ii e> an d was glad at my heart that 
with the Lord. I wa s received again, and brought under the 
means of grace, and Ordinances of Christ 

The part that preaching played in conversion is impressive. 
Andrew Manwaring is proud of the preachers he has heard and he 
names Owen, Rogers, Simpson and Cradock. Simpson, whom he 
had heard in London, is undoubtedly Sidrach Simpson of Fish 
Street. The interesting feature about Walter Cradock is that he 
is also mentioned by Rebecca Rich, each time for the same peculiar 
quality in his preaching. Manwaring declares it was as if he 
had spoken to me onely whilst Rebecca Rich says: "I thought I 
was the person that he particularly spoke to". Moreover, both 
of them had the same feelings when he had done : the former could 
identify himself with Isaiah, on whom Cradock had preached, and 
cry, Woe is me, I am an unclean creature , and the latter was 
convinced of her naturall condition . Another testifier, Humphry 
Mills, was converted by the famous Dr. Sibbs. His sweet soul- 
melting Gospel-Sermons gave him the sense of victory in life which 
he had formerly lacked. Probably Mills came under Sibbs influence 
when he was a young single man in London, and Sibbs was filling 
his Church at Grays Inn Sunday by Sunday till 1626 when he 
removed to Cambridge. 

An amusing commentary on preaching and its influence appears 
in Captain John Spilman s testimony : 

I did slight the Ministers of Christ, especially your long 
Preachers, and could not abide that any should preach long; 
but at last I was catched by one, and hee was on Heb.8.8.10, 
the new Covenant made in Christ, which applied to me very 
home, . . . hearing the danger of being out of that Covenant, 
as it was to bee out of Noah s Arke, . . . 


Being troubled at this, he consulted his pastor, William Bridge of 
Yarmouth, who satisfied him at the time. 

During his preaching mission in Ireland, Owen seems to have 
produced a considerable effect upon several people. Nor was it 
confined to the pulpit, as one of the women, Dorothy Emett, shows. 
Having been struck by his preaching, she saw him privately and he 
advised her to "beleeve in Christ, and be fervent in prayer" though 
this availed her little for she did not know what she could do to 
believe. Andrew Manwaring also testifies to the good that Owen 
did him. 

Owen, it will be remembered, realizing the shocking religious 
state of Ireland revealed by the Rebellion, brought this to the 
notice of Parliament in a sermon on February 28th, 1650. Parlia 
ment sent to Ireland six salaried preachers, one of whom was 
Rogers who began in Christ Church Cathedral. Manwaring corrob 
orates this, saying that Rogers was sent over to them, and a further 
piece of evidence from the tes dmonies is that of Elizabeth Chambers, 
that the Lord, having heard their prayers, had sent over Mr. Rogers 
from the Council of State. 

One of the most fascinating studies that the group of experiences 
provides is the effect that John Rogers had upon his hearers. There 
is what we might term the Rogers type. Under this heading we 
might place eight persons: Hugh Leeson, Frances Curtis, Mary 
Turrant, Mary Burrill, Mary Barker, Margaret Fanshaw, Ann 
Hanly and Manwaring himself. In each case conversion has come 
about through Rogers. Some of the cases are more true to type 
than others. The four women last mentioned are closely related 
whereas Manwaring s testimony is strongly individualistic though 
bearing the same marks. The marks are (1) Rogers is named as 
responsible; (2) all have a sense of sin but there is no mention of 
hell; (3) all mention the means except one; (4) none quote Scripture 
chapter and verse; (5) all conclude on a similar note except one; 
and (6) most of them have nothing of importance to add to this 
list. Rogers reports in his own experience which is the last but 
one in the collection, that he had at one time greatly feared Hell 
and Devils, but this eventually gave way to a love of Heaven which 
was far stronger, and he tried not without success to impress the 
latter upon his converts. The emphasis upon the means, and the 
use of the term itself by many, has more the mark of the trained 
minister than of the new-born Christian and suggests that it was a 
prominent part of Rogers teaching. Although many of the testi- 
fiers refer to Scripture frequently, Rogers and the Rogers type 
do not. There are only four direct references to Scripture in Rogers 
testimony which is twenty-one pages in length, and in these eight 


experiences there is not one Scriptural citation. The importance 
of Scripture may be implicit but it is not explicit. A most remark 
able feature of the Rogers type is the tendency to follow Rogers 
special kind of devotion. It is voiced in terms of love and joy; 
it comes near to mysticism at times, and is extravagant. Rogers 
was only twenty-six when his book was published. Had he written 
it in later life he might have toned down some of his exuberance. 
But his extravagance, emotion, and boldness appears in his testi 
mony, and especially towards the end : 

... I can comfortably drink after Christ out of his own 
cup; and in eating his meat and drinking his drink, take gall 
and vinegar, as well as wine and honey. I prefer Christ before 
Salvation, and had (if I know my heart), yet not I (but my 
spirituall self) had rather goe to Hell with Christ in my armes 
(if twere possible) then to heaven without him; accounting 
the enjoyment of him to be the enjoyment of all the excellencies 
and happinesse in heaven and earth, Super omnia Christum; 
I am very confident Christ can t be perfect without me, nor I 
without him, but that I shall appear perfect (for all Eternity) 
in Christ s righteousnesse. . . 

This note is repeated by Rogers converts. "O I love the Saints 
of God ! His Word ! and all his wayes ! and I rest on Christ Jesus 
alone!" 12 God s Spirit encouraged another "with all greedinesse and 
love to God and all his ways". 13 "I now love, and long after Jesus 
Christ alone". 14 "I have received much sweet satisfaction by Mr. R. 
and have now the testimony within me of God s love to me, which 
makes me to unfainedly love him. . . ," 15 "I doe rest on Jesus 
Christ, for pardon and Salvation by his blood." 10 (cp. Rogers "... 
pardoned by his death, purged by his bloud"). Beyond these points 
the eight converts of Rogers add little; perhaps some vivid personal 
reminiscence is incorporated. 

To sum up the factors which combine to lead up to and consum 
mate conversion, we may say briefly that they are sufferings, plague, 
war, or events of personal significance like marriage, or settling down 
after travelling abroad : what might be called the raw material of 
life. Then, there is the example and words of friends and partners, 
and the attempt to understand the means, especially prayer, the 
Scriptures, and above all preaching. 

12 Mary Burrill. 

13 Margaret Fanshaw. 

14 Manwaring. 

15 Frances Curtis. 

16 Mary Barker. 


The precise moment of conversion is indicated in many of the 
experiences, but others attribute the moment to several causes and 
still others are vague, being, one supposes, what are often called 
gradual conversions. Six people attribute their conversions to 
their being struck by some verse of Scripture applying to their 
peculiar need. Eleven attribute their change to sermons. Sermons 
play an important part in at least ten other testimonies. 

Extraordinary phenomena such as dreams, visions, and voices 
enter into the experiences of ten persons. In the author s day 
they were treasured above ordinary experiences. To-day psycholo 
gical study enables us to identify most of the symbolized experiences 
of the dreamer or visionary in a way which did not occur to the 
student in the seventeenth century. To us the mystery of what the 
Puritan treasured as extraordinary experience is neither more nor 
less wonderful than ordinary experience. 

The first thing we note is that the people who recount extra 
ordinary experiences, being highly strung and with vivid imagina 
tions, have more to tell us of Hell, Devils and Satan, than other 
testifiers, who, it may surprise us to find, display little interest in 
the details of either Hell or Heaven. 

"My first call," says Edward Wayman, "was upon a dream, 
which I had of a great black terrible dog, which seized upon me, 
and took hold of my ear fast, which I thought was the Devil; at 
which I waked with screeks and cries." John Osborne, of whom 
we shall speak more later, dreamed that a serpent came to torment 
him, and from this serpent came seven more, "so many serpents 
for so many sins," who "stung and gnawed" him, eating off his 
flesh below, and his thighs "to the very bone". The fact that he 
confessed to adultery confirms the symbolism of his dream. Prob 
ably some vivid experience of the dreamer in conscious life led to 
the symbolism in several cases. It is likely that Wayman had been 
attacked by a dog and was frightened by it, perhaps in child 
hood. Rogers was certainly affected by a dream occasioned by a 
sea-battle off the coast. Francis Bishop was under arrest and likely 
to be executed, "yet more troubled under the wrath of God, than 
under the wrath of man", when, having gone to sleep despairing 
and moaning, suddenly the room was "all alight" and as he kept 
looking, he saw the words, "Thy sinnes are pardoned, and thy 
life is hid with Christ in God". This dream illustrates not only 
the effect of circumstances upon the dreamer s mind, but also his 
wish-fulfilment: a wish that could not be gratified consciously is 
gratified when the unconscious has free-play. Dorothy Emett 
has already been mentioned. She was unsatisfied with the pastoral 


advice which Owen gave her, protesting, "How shall I do to be 
saved ? " . The solution to her problem came in a dream. 

I lay a long time in this trouble of minde, untill in my sleep 
one night came to me a voyce, (I thought) tha f said, I am the 
Founiain of living water: and when I awaked, I was much 
refreshed, for I had great thirstings after Christ. 

In each case the step which other testifiers could make consciously, 
these seekers could not make but in sleep. John Cooper, who 
wrote his dream down, secured his desire in imagination. It appears 
that he did not want to be left outside the circle of Church leaders, 
namely, the Lord of Clogher, Colonel Hewson, who was Governor 
of Dublin, and Rogers, his pastor. In the dream all of them had 
to cross a pit by a pole. The others managed it but Cooper felt 
he could not, and it was only through the prayers and exhortations 
of the pastor that he did so. Finally, Cooper was admitted into 
the holy of holies, where none but the four of them were, and they 
held converse with God. 

The desire to be one of the Church fellowship is commonly upon 
the lips of the testifiers. Loneliness impels many. Raphael Swin- 
field says, 

and ever since I have been here, but walking alone, and very 
desolate for want of such a society as this; and I shall now much 
rejoyce, if I may be one with you in this oneness of love and 
spirit, which (I perceive) you are in. 

This esteem of the congregation is supported by others. "In this 
society I see much of God, and have a great desire to be one with 
you", 17 and "I was very much convinced of your walking together 
in love and unity of spirit". 18 Some joining the Church were 
delighted with its tolerance and freedom. Captain Hoar said he 
had not previously joined a society because they were too dependent 
on "formes". Thomas Huggins, a minister but not of Independent 
convictions before reaching Ireland, desired to join the company 
because of their wish to be one in spirit, "if not all in one Form". 
It is not easy to judge the value of the statements of applicants for 
Church membership. We must always bear in mind that this 
extolled Church broke over the question of Baptism in 1652. Yet 
the earlier warm love of the people for one another is far from 
irreconcilable with its later disruption. There are others who 
welcome the oversight and discipline that membership in those 
days involved. Ruth Emerson, for example, sought membership 

17 Elizabeth Avery. 

18 Rebecca Rich. 


that she might be watched over by the others since she was one 
who was always being tempted and felt she was of inferior gifts 
and graces. Mary Burrill desired the prayers of the society that 
she might "grow in grace". 

One of the most interesting fruits of studying this collection of 
testimonies is the picture given of ordinary Church life in the 
period. In particular, there is a fascinating story illustrating the 
parts that prayer and pastoral work by the Church played. The 
tale comes from Rogers Essex pastorate (i.e. Purleigh) where it was 
recorded in the Church-book. It concerns "a poore labouring man" 
called John Osborne who was, we are told, of iil-life and ill-looks. 
When he was sick, the pastor visited him with a collection taken 
for him after the weekly lecture-sermon, and found that the man 
had thrown a fit that night when the Church was praying for him. 
All he could cry was "I m damned, I m damned!", "I m rotten 
at the heart". 

... the pastor wondred; began to say one thing and another; 
to apply one aile and another; but all in vain, for the more 
he sought to help, he seemed to hurt, and the more he sought 
to cure the more he seemed to kill, and the more to fret the 
disease. The Pastor retiring himself e for a time into the next 
roome as desirous to seek to God and to bewail the mans 
woeful misery, was there told by one or two, that the same 
Osborne has formerly been suspected of adultery. . . . 

An admission to this effect was drawn from the sick man who 
began "naming her openly to all comers" and babbling "unsavoury 
speech so long and in so much despair that the Pastor was con 
strained to leave him so". The next day the Pastor, anxious both 
for the name of the Church and the salvation of the man, "in his 
private study strongly sets upon God, and by a holy violence 
beseecht, and begged of him hard that hee would scourge him 
here severely, by some visible sign". The pastor prayed and the 
man languished for two days. As he was "drawing on, in his last 
sweat", the pastor prayed that God would withdraw his anger 
if Osborne were repentant. So prayed the whole congregation and 
sent one of their number to visit the sick member. He was now 
found to be sleeping peacefully for the first time. When he awoke 
"he would needs be gone to the Pastor to tell him, what God had 
done for him"; he put on his clothes and commenced to cross the 
fields before he became faint and was constrained to relurn home. 
The remarkable thing is that his experiences in the coma corres 
ponded with the prayers made for him. He thought he was in 
Hell being eaten of eight serpents. The vividness of it to Osborne 


was borne out by evidence. His tongue "was bit quite through" 
and "a peece of his lip pulled off" which hindered his speech and 
when asked to account for these injuries "he said he knew not, 
unless the Serpents had bit it". Later Osborne heard the Pastor s 
pleading with God for him. The serpents went away; he heard 
the Church praying for him, and beheld the Lord smiling upon him. 
Eventually the Church received him back into its fellowship. 

Rogers must have attached much importance to this story since 
he spends some eight pages upon it; his interest is not unlike that 
of those, in our own time, who have focussed attention upon spiritual 
healing. That mental and spiritual conditions are co-ordinate to an 
extent which was in previous days disputed, is now generally 
accepted. The power of one mind to influence another is being 
explored but already the number of cases tested are too great for 
there to be doubt about its reality; doubt only exists as to its 

In concluding his chapter on experiences, Rogers makes plain 
that he realizes the limitations as well as the value of testimonies. 
Often, your most ordinary experience is the most infallible and 
certain, he comments. His language has a touch of poetry in it as 
he describes his impressions of the experiences which he has 

Some are deep but most shallow and all clear as Crystall 
streams, unlesse at such times, when Satan (by temptations) 
put in his cloven foot. 

Though we may not judge the dream or trance to be an indica 
tion of a more spiritual and unworldly life, yet the depth of 
conviction and moderation in tone of the testimonies as a whole 
is something to make a secular world think. 

These excerpts are intended to be a means whereby we may 
add colour to our picture of the Independent Church in the Common 
wealth. The Experiences in Rogers book are of more value than 
all the rest of it. His Church polity is not unlike others; his argu 
ments against the Presbyterians are much like those of any other 
of the multitude of pamphlets which the time produced. But in 
these records of the words of Church members we feel our fingers 
upon the pulse of Church life; we come closer to understanding 
what the man in the pew thought. 

Religion was essentially personal to him. It came of personal 
experience concerning his relationship with God. Its danger was 
that it was not social enough. That he cherished his membership 
of the elect and recognized his responsibilities to that society is 


evident, but that he saw further responsibilities is less clear. His 
religion tended to be egocentric, the Spirit having changed him 
and made him His temple, rather than centred in the Church, 
Universal and Particular, with himself as one stone in it. 

It is interesting to note how the ordinary person had revolted, 
like the leaders, against the kind of Church into which English 
Protestantism had settled in Elizabethan times. He sought good 
preaching and would not listen to the traditional sermonizing. He 
sought freedom instead of formalism and legalism. He showed 
his own qualifications for priesthood by his experience of God s 
using him. His religion was practical; it was adequate to the trials 
of war and sickness. By faith he did not mean assent to the 
Christian teaching and way of life, but the resolve to make Christ 
the basis for living. He was not a Christian because he feared Hell, 
nor was he unhealthily introspective; he was a realist in facing 
the eschatology of the Gospels and the fact of sin. Yet he had 
come to love his Judge and to enjoy His fellowship, and to the 
grace of which this spoke, he, in his humble fashion, testified. 


Letters by Philip Doddridge 

[The following letters are of unusual interest for their evidence of 
the interest which Doddridge retained in the careers of his pupils, 
even when they did not enter the ministry. Letter 3 is not in 
Doddridge s hand, but the signature and postscript are his, and 
the other letters, as also Thomas Clark s leaving certificate, are 
autograph. They are printed here by the kindness of Mr. J. W. 
Clarke of Uffculme, in whose family they have been preserved, 
and who has now presented them to Dr. Williams s Library. 
Identifications have been added by Mr. Surman.] 

1. To Richard Clarke Esqr / at Breedwell near Uffculm / in Devon 
My very Dear & worthy Friend Northampton Aug 28 1739 

I am very sorry your Illness prevented your Writing a Feaver wh 
seized me a few Days ago just after my Return also did its part towards 
preventing mine but thro Mercy it is removed. I cannot sufficiently thank 

gDu for the kind mention you make of my poor Endeavours to do my 
uty to you. Your constant kind & obliging Carriage wh nothing could 
exceed not to mention your several generous presents far more than I 
ever received from all ye rest of my pupils (2 or 3 excepted) taken together 
concurd to lay be (for me) under additional obligations where ye very 
nature of the Relation it self must have engaged any honest conscientious 
Man to do his best. Were it not that I know ye Necessity of it I should 
greatly regret ye Loss of so agreeable a Friend but you go to comfort 
one of the best of Mothers & to support & adorn the Interest of Religion 
wh is much better than that I should still enjoy you so go on & prosper 
abundantly & may the GOD of your Fathers be wth you & bless you 

W T hile I was at London I enquired into every thing wh I thought 
might be useful to you & the Result of all is that my wisest Friends advise 
you after learning the Law Hands to come & spend 2 or 3 years with an 
Attorney wh is the Method our greatest Councellors have taken. Perhaps 
2 years may be enough here & keeping Terms about 3 more wth moderate 
Study & a prudt Care in taking opportunities of Improvement by reading 
& converse may be sufficient to fit you to appear wth Honour at ye Bar. 
A Friend of mine whose Name is Cotton & who is a Man of the first 
Character for Integrity & good Sense & in no small Business for his Age 
wh is about 33 wants a Clerk & on my mentioning your Case to him 
seemd to think it might suit. I am fully assured from his Character 
that he will do what he can for your Improvemt & I am ready to think 
you might learn more wth him by taking things gradually & by chusing 
ye Sorts of Business wh on a nearer View you shall judge most convenient 
& seeing them in their whole progress & to ye Bottom than by slightly 
running thro a greater Number of Affairs in an overly way of seeing only 
some Detatchd Parts of their Formalities, wch is all you could expect 
wth Paxton suppose or any Sollicitor crowded wth Business who will also 
be above giving you personal Instruction. But on this Sir advise wth 
your Friends & let me know ye Result & I will inform my self more 
particularly of the Terms wh I believe will be about 50 a year if you 
chuse to board at ye Clerks wh Mr. Cotton do wth some proportionable 



allowance of your board yourself. Your having ye Choice of your own 
Business under Friendly Direction & not sitting so much to writing as 
most Clerks do & your likewise having it in your Choice to spend one 
2 or 3 Years this way as you please will make ye Terms considerably 
higher than they wd be in proportion if you articled for 4 or 5 years 
constant & common Service the last of wh wd be very benencial to a 
Master yet wth such a Clark he insists on 100 Guineas how ye Article 
stands as to boarding I dont exactly know & must refer it to future 
Treaty. In ye mean time you dear Sir may write to Mr. Cotton in the 
Rolls Buildings near Chancery Lane. I am called away & must conclude 
wth telling you that we are all well & join in most affectionate Service 
to your self and good Mamma. I am glad your Brother is well settled 
for ye prest & shall do my best to finish his Education but you know 
our Course must be wretchedly hurried to despatch ye most essential & 
peculiarly useful Parts of it in much less than three years. Excuse my 
Hast in writing & assure your self that as I greatly desire & esteem your 
prayers you have a freqt Share in those of 

Dear Sir Your most faithful Friend 

& much obliged hum Servt P Doddridge 
Hum. Ser to Messrs Chorleyi & Ball* 

2. To Richard Clark Esqr / at Breedwell / near Uffculm / in Devon / by 

London. To be left at Mr. TozersS in Exon. 
My very dear Friend Northampton Sept. 25. 1739 

I am both surprized & concerned to hear by Mr. Palk4 that you did 
not receive a long Letter wh I sent you 6 or 8 weeks ago. In it I returned 
you my affectionate thanks for ye tender & respectful Friendship you there 
so warmly & agreeably express & acknowledged as I ought always very 
gratefully to do ye many Favours I have received both from you and 
yt good Lady your Mother. I also told you that I had consulted several 
Lawyers of Character & one who was an intimate Acquaintance & Friend 
of ye late excellt Chancellor Talbot- r > who unanimously advised your spending 
some time wth a diligent honest Attorney who will be sollicitous not so 
much to make your Clarkship Serviceable to himself as improving to 
you shewing you ye full process of affairs from first to last & setting 
you to a due variety of them. Whereas Clarks are commonly imployd 
especially for ye first five years in ye Dull but to their Masters profitable 
work of transcribing. There is a very worth (y) Gentleman about 32 in 
good Business of an excellt Character & great Abilities who wanting a 
Clark wth whom he expected about 150 guineas he boarding wth him 
for 5 years but not breakfasting or Supping at his Table (only dining 
there) & doing common work I consulted him about you he said he wd 
bona Fide undertake ye Care of giving you wt Insight he could into 
Business at 50 p an leaving it to you what Time you wd stay & wt 
Business you wd chuse (in wh I suppose Some Regard wd be had to his 
Advice but I added he cd not board you in such a Manr as he thinks 
wd be suitable. I apprehend one year thus spent wd be more than 2 or 3 
of common Clarkship & had I a Son or Brother to send out wth your 

1 John Chorley, minister at Uffculme. 

2 John Ball, minister at Honiton: D.N.B. 

3 Abraham Tozer, formerly a student under Doddridge, later minister at 
Norwich and Exeter. 

4 William Palk, minister at South Molton. 

6 Charles Talbot, 1st Baron Talbot of Hensol : D.N.B. 


Views I wd chuse to fix him wth so religious & able a Man in this 
Circumstance. But do you dear Sir advise wth more competent Judges. 
The Gentlemans Name is Mr. Tho Cotton he is Attorney at Law & lives 
in ye Rolles Buildings near Chancery Lane London. 1 bless GOD we are 
all well. We join in most humble Services to your self & good Mamma. 
My best wishes attend your Brother. May much Success crown his Studies. 
It grieves me to write so hastily to one I love so well but you know 
my multiplicity of Business. May GOD even your own GOD guide you 
& bless you & honr you wth extensive usefulness wth long Life may he 
satisrie you & crown you wth every desirable Temporal Blessing till at 
length he shows you his Salvation 

I am / Dear Sir / wth inexpressible Affection / Your much obliged Friend / 
& faithful hum Service (for Servant) / P Doddridge 

About 5 weeks ago I was very ill but am now thro Mercy perfectly 
recovered all things are thro Mercy well here Messrs. Tozer Ortonfc & Pa Ik 
(not exclusive of the rest send their particular Services wth those of my 
wife. We often think of you. I know not any pupil I ever had who 
has carried away more of my Friendship as none had ever a juster Claim 
to my Gratitude. My hum Ser. attends Mr. Chcrleigh & Mr. Ball &c 
3. To Richard Clark Esqr / at Breedwell near Uffculm / to be left with 

Mr. Tozer Senr / in Exeter / Devon / By London 
My very Dr Friend 

I cannot but most affectionately thank you for your very kind Letter 
of 16. of October wth wch I receiv d a Bill of 15 Guineas wch I doubt not 
is paid in London, I having pass d it away in due time. I immediately 
according to your Desire paid to Mr Potter 6 5s of wch I suppose he 
has given you due Information. The remaining 9 10s I have charg d 
to myself as receiv d in full of all Accounts, & send you a Receipt at 
the bottom of ys: I thank you for yt & all ye other Instances of your 
friendly & obliging Care in every thing relating to me & my Interest. 
It is an unspeakable Pleasure to me to think yt I have a share not only 
in your Esteem & Love but likewise in your Prayers. I rejoyce to think 
you are keeping up yt Regard to Prayer wch in such an Age as ours is 
so uncommon amongst Gentlemen of your Rank, to ye shame of ye Age 
it must be spoken; & I assure you Sr yt I in return am often thinking 
of you, & wnen I do it I have Reason to join Thanksgivings wth my 
Prayers. May God ever preserve you faithfull in his Service, may you 
have Spirit & Strength to stem ye Torrent of Vice & Error & Folly, wch 
bears so strongly upon those who are in ye more distinguish d Stations 
of Life, & may you dare to be singularly good yt you may have ye Honour 
to be own d by Christ, when wicked Princes & Nobles are flying from 
him in Consternation & Despair. Considering ye many Temptations of 
ye Law & of ye Town I can not blame your Resolution of laying aside 
ye Thoughts you once entertain d; you will I doubt not be endeavouring 
to serve your Country under some Capacity or other, & to support ye 
Interest of Religion, & I hope your Labours will not be in vain. I am 
well aware you can not want Opportunities of doing good, & I hope God 
will guide & strengthen you in ye Improvement of them. As for myself 
& Family, I bless God we are well excepting only a slight Cold wth wch 
my wife is confin d. We send our united affectionate & respectlull Services 
to yourself & ye good Lady your Mother, whom we doubt not is very 
happy in your Company. The whole Family yt you know send their 
Services & especially your Parlour Friends. I bless God things go on 
in ye rr-aiii very well amongst us, & we continue an united Society 

8 Job Orton, assistant tutor at Doddridge s academy : D.N.B. 


notwthstanding ye attempts wch have been made to divide & distress us; 
but ye Congregations yt were vacant when you left us are not yet supplied. 
My time will not permit me to inlarge further, only I must beg, Dr Sr, 
yt you would sometimes let us know how you do, & yt you would please 
to set it down amongst ye few Indubitables of human Life yt you may at 
all times wth ye greatest Freedom command ye ready & even thankfull 
Services of good Sr 
your most affectionate / & faithfull humble / Servant 

P Doddridge Nov 17 1739 

My humble Services attenc} all my Brethren & Friends in your Parts 
particularly Messrs Chudleigh & Ball 

Received of Richard Clarke Esqr the Sum of nine Pounds ten Shillings 
in full of all Accounts & Demands by me P Doddridge 

North. Nov. 17. 1739 

4. To Madam Clark / at Breed well / Devon 

Hond & Dear Madam Northampton July 3. 1743 

After all ye laborious but delightful Services of a Sacrament Day 
I must in one Line or two thank you for ye Favour of your last very 
kind Letter. I have no Reason to unsay any Thing I said in Favour 
of my Pupil Mr. Tho Clark?. He is an excellent Youth & as I greatly 
esteem him so I doubt not but he loves me & he will witness for me that 
on all Occasions I have treated him like a Gentleman & a Friend. He 
will I hope Madam regard your Advice & may GOD whom he surely 
loves & serves avert ye Dangers I fear for him. My wife & I join our 
Thanks to you Madam for all ye Affectionate Regard for us wh your 
very obliging Letter expresses. It is my great Desire that my House 
may be filled with sound & serious pious & evangelical Youths & those 
of another Stamp seldom stay long in it but some have discovered a 
Temper I at first little suspected. May the best of Blessings rest on 
you & yr dear Children. We always remember our amiable Friend Mr. 
Richd Clark wth peculiar Affecion & unite our Services to him Mr. & 
Mrs Churley & all Friends I am 

Dear Madam Your most faithful & obliged / humble Serv 

P Doddridge 

5. Northampton May 4. 1744 

This is to certify that Mr Thomas Clark the Bearer hereof, having 
spent three years under the Care of the Revd Mr. MooreS of Bridgewater 
in his Academical Studies, pursued them with me the two last year, during 
which Time he went thro a Course of Ethicks & Theology, as well as 
several other Branches of Literature preparatory to the Ministry, being 
also a Member of my Family, & in Communion wth the Church under 
my Pastoral Care. His Behaviour during this Period of Time hath been 
regular & exemplary, & as I hope he will on Examination be found to 
have made a laudable progress in Learning & to be well acquainted with 
the Principles of Christianity & capable of Instructing others in them, 
I do hereby recommend him to such of my Revd Brethren in the Ministry 
as he may think fit to apply him self to, in order to being regularly 
introduced to that Office, & to any Christian Societies in which after such 
Examination he may be called to Labour, or wth which he may at any 
Time desire Communion; cordially recommending him & them to the 
Presence & Blessinj? of ye great Head of the Church 
P Doddridge DD 

7 Probably the Thomas Clark later minister at Ashburton and Lympstone. 

8 John Moore, junior (1673-1747) : A Gordon, Freedom after Ejection, 314. 

William Roby s Missionary Candidates 

There is not, perhaps, on the records of the London Missionary 
Society a name more sacred to the cause of Missions than that of 
William Roby. He was one of the first to respond to the appeal of 
the venerable Bogue, in 1794, and, for the space of thirty-six years, 
employed his vast influence in the county of Lancaster in extend 
ing (its) claims and consolidating (its) interest. No pastor in this 
land ever identified himself more closely or energetically with the 
labours and triumphs of the London Missionary Societyi. 

William Roby, who was born in 1766 and died at the beginning 
of 1830, entered Congregationalism from the Church of England 
through the Countess of Huntingdon s Connexion, and after a 
ministry of nearly seven years in Wigan, came to Manchester in 
1795 to Cannon Street Chapel, then greatly diminished in numbers 
and influence. His ministry in Manchester lasted until his death, 
first at Cannon Street until 1807, and then at Grosvenor Street, to 
which the Cannon Street congregation moved. It was notable, 
not only for its pastoral zeal and its influence on Congregationalism 
in Lancashire and the North, but for the association of Roby with 
the beginnings of the Lancashire Congregational Union 2 , for his 
training of itinerants and ministers in his own academy in Man 
chester and his association with the continuance of the work at 
Leaf Square, Pendleton, and Blackburn Academy 3 and for his 
interest in the beginnings of the L.M.S. and his work in sending 
missionaries into the foreign field. His most distinguished mis 
sionary son, Robert Moffat, in describing how he first heard Roby 
while attending a conference in Manchester, and was then embold 
ened to approach him, said that "the lady of the house where we 
lodged remarked that he was a great missionary man, and some 
times sent out young men to the heathen." 4 That makes a good, 
brief "epitaph" for one who sent out twelve missionaries from his 
church during his ministry, who trained at least three others, and 
whose influence continued for long years after. This paper will 
deal with the missionaries whom Roby inspired and trained. 

First, however, it is useful to trace Roby s connexion with the 
birth and growth of the L.M.S. Dr. Bogue s letter in September, 
1794, in the Evangelical Magazine was followed by a meeting at 

1 John Morison, The Fathers and Founders of the L.M.S., 1844, 364. 

2 B. Nightingale, The Story of the Lanes. Congl. Union. 1906, caps i-iii. 

3C. E. Surman in Trans. C.H.S., XIII. 41 ff., 107 ff.; Joseph Thompson, 
Lancashire Independent College Jubilee Memorial Volume, 1893. 

4 John S. Moffat, The Lives of Robert and Mary Moffat, 1885, 17. 


Me Castle and Falcon, Aldersgate Street, on November 4, to cariy 
out its suggestions for the founding of a society. From that 
meeting "An Address to Christian Ministers, and all other friends 
of Christianity, on the subject of missions to the heathen" was 
drawn -up and printed in the Evangelical Magazine for January, 
1795. A letter which accompanied the address called a further 
meeting at the Castle and Falcon for Thursday, January 15. Roby 
was present at this meeting and, with thirty- two others, ministers 
and laymen, signed a document, promising to unite to form an 
extensive and regularly organized society to promote "the great 
work of introducing the Gospel to heathen and other unenlightened 
countries" 5 . Although Roby does not seem to have been present 
at the September meetings in 1795 which formally constituted the 
Society (probably because he moved to Manchester from Wigan 
that same month to begin his new ministry) he is thus to be num 
bered among the founders, and is recognized as such in the minute 
passed by the Directors on his death 6 . He was certainly one of its 
most zealous supporters. At a time when stage-coaches took one 
or two days to make the journey to London, he missed the Society s 
May anniversary only twice; year by year he was to be found 
taking an increasingly honoured part in the various Communion 
services and sermons connected with the anniversary, and he was 
among the first to be invited in 1801 to preach one of the annual 
sermons 7 . It was Roby who formed the first auxiliary of the Society 
and it was he who was the mainspring of the anniversaries each 
summer for which Manchester became famous 8 . 

Of about thirty books and pamphlets published by Roby, the 
last of any size was Missionary Portraits (1826) in which he told 
the stories of two of the young men, John Ince and Robert 
Hampson, who had gone abroad from his church for the L.M.S. 
In the preface, addressed to the members of the church, Roby 
counted and named twelve of their fellow-members who had served 
or were serving with the L.M.S. The biographies, in the order in 
which they are there given, can be filled out as follows: 
Samuel Harper. Born 1770. "Offered himself with the donation 
of one hundred pounds to the Society" (Missionary Portraits, 
iii). He was appointed to the South Seas and sailed on 

6 J. Morison, op. cit., ix-xiv. 
Ev. Mag., 1830, 84. 

7 Four Sermons preached in London at the Seventh General Meeting ol 
the Missionary Society, 1801, 49-83, "An Apology for Christian Missions to 
the Heathen" by William Roby. 

8 e.g., Ev. Mag.. 1827, 361; 1828, 326; Cong. Mag., 1830, 230. 


August 10, 1796, on the Duff. He was landed at Tongatabu 
in the Tonga Group, together with Samuel Gaulton and Daniel 
Bowell. The natives were fierce and treacherous and "took 
umbrage at the prayers of the missionaries to which they attri 
buted various misfortunes". Civil strife broke out on the 
island and all three missionaries were murdered on May 10, 
1799, the first martyrs of the new Society. (Ev. Mag., 1800, 
427; R. Lovett, The History of the L.M.S. 1899, i, 171f; 
J. Sibree, Register of Missionaries (of the L.M.S.), 1923, 
No. 18). 

James Edmonds. Born 1759 or 1760. "Having resided for some 
time in the East, offered his services, and was accepted for 
that quarter; but the Directors earnestly soliciting him to 
accompany Dr. Vanderkemp till securely settled in Africa, 
he acceded to their wishes." (Missionary Portraits, iiif.) He 
sailed on December 23, 1798, on the convict ship Hillsborough, 
bound for Botany Bay but due to call at the Cape, and accom 
panied Vanderkemp to Kaffirland. Vanderkemp s Journal 
tells of "the uneasiness of Brother Edmond (sic), who wished 
to prosecute his plan, and go to Bengal" and of their parting 
with prayers and tears on January 1, 1800. His connexion 
with the Society ceased in July, 1800, and on October 2 he 
left Cape Town for India, to work in Calcutta, "contributing 
materially to the Missionary cause, and supporting himself 
independently by a school" (Missionary Portraits, iv). He was 
still alive, in his sixty-seventh year in 1826 (Ev . Mag., 1799, 
39; Lovett, i, 484, 489, 491f; Sibree, No. 36, which wrongly 
gives his Christian name as John). (E.M., 1858, 582; C.Y.B., 
1859, 195.) 

Robert Moffat. Born December 21, 1795, at Ormiston, East 
Lothian. He came as under-gardener to High Legh, Cheshire. 
One summer evening, probably in 1815, he walked into War- 
rington, about six miles away, and saw a placard announcing 
a missionary meeting at which William Roby would take the 
chair. The meeting had already been held (D.N.B. wrongly 
says otherwise), but Moffat resolved to seek out Roby in Man 
chester. Roby encouraged him, found him work with Mr. 
Smith, of Dukinfield, whose daughter Mary he married in 
1819 in Africa. Roby helped him in his theological education 
(Moffat s own notes of Roby s letters on theology, a volume 
of 460 pages, are in the library of the L.M.S.) He was 
ordained at Surrey Chapel, London, on September 30, 1816, 
together with eight other missionaries. These eight others 
included James Kitchingman and George Platt (vide infra), 


in whose training Roby also had a hand, and John Williams 
of the South Seas, with whom it was first planned that Moffat 
should go to Polynesia had not Dr. Waugh objected that "thae 
twa lads are ower young tae gang tegither." He sailed on 
October 31, 1816, and with only one furlough home, worked 
in Africa until 1870. His journeys and translation work are 
well summarized in Sibree, No. 168. Edinburgh conferred 
on him its D.D. in 1872. He died on August 9, 1883. (Lives 
of Robert and Mary Moffat by John S. Moffat, 1885; Missionary 
.Labours and Scenes in Southern Africa, 1842; Sibree, No. 168; 
D.N.B. xxxviii). Robert and Mary Moffat s daughter Mary 
married David Livingstone. Mary Moffat s brother, John 
Smith, was educated at Blackburn Academy, ministered at 
Jackson s Lane, Hulme, Manchester, 1823-28, and then went 
as missionary to India. He was lost at sea in 1843 (Ev. 
Mag., 1843, 583; Sibree, No. 271). 

John Ince. Born August 20, 1795, in Manchester, became a mem 
ber of the recently-erected Grosvenor Street Church after 
joining the Sunday School. He engaged in preliminary studies 
with Roby (which included English, Greek and Hebrew) and 
then went with Robert Hampson and Samuel Sheridan Wilson 
to David Bogue at Gosport Seminary 9 . He was appointed with 
his fellow-student and friend, Thomas Beighton of Derby, to 
Malacca and was ordained at Union Chapel, Islington, on 
January 22, 1818, after which he sailed on April 1. He arrived 
at Malacca and began work among the Chinese, removing to 
Penang the following year. His missionary career was short 
but full, and he died on April 24, 1825. (Ev. Mag., 1825, 123; 
Missionary Portraits, 52 ff; Lovett, ii.438; Sibree, No. 187). 

Mrs. Ince. Miss Joanna Barr was a member of Grosvenor Street 
Church when she married John Ince shortly before his ordina 
tion. She accompanied him as a missionary. Two children 
died suddenly before her death on June 1, 1822; one daughter 
was left, aged about eight when John Ince died. 

Robert Hampson. Born in 1793, of Roman Catholic parentage 
and education, he began to attend Grosvenor Street Church, 
where his employer was a deacon. He became a member and 
felt a call to become a missionary. With John Ince and Samuel 
Sheridan Wilson, went to Gosport in 1815 to study. With his 
fellow-student, Samuel Trawin of Devon, he was appointed to 

9 For an account of the three-years course at Gosport see Morison, op. 
cit., 177//, and Bogue and Bennett, Hist, of Dissenters, iv.28f; v, 142 for 
Bogue s own account. 


Calcutta, ordained at Bristol, on July 1, 1818, and reached 
Calcutta on February 8, 1819. He had married Miss Harriet 
Orange before he sailed. She died on August 29,1819, and 
Robert Hampson died at Calcutta on September 21, 1820. 
(Ev. Mag., 1821, 169; Missionary Portraits, 5 ff; Lovett, ii.50; 
Sibree, No. 190). 

Samuel Sheridan Wilson. Born on November 14, 1797, in Man 
chester. Under the ministry of Roby at Grosvenor Street, had 
a desire to become a missionary and was helped (with Ince and 
Hampson) preparatory to training at Gosport. He was ordained 
on September 29, 1818, at Stockwell Chapel, London (C.Y.B., 
1867, 327-8, wrongly says with Moffat and Hampson). He was 
sent out to work with Isaac Lowndes (vide infra) in the Greek 
Islands and sailed on December 1, 1818, but remained at Malta 
because of the difficulty of beginning work in Greece. The 
Directors recalled him in 1822, but sent him back again in 1824, 
when they became convinced of the value of his services. With 
his headquarters at Malta, he visited Greece several times, did 
much translating (e.g. of The Pilgrim s Progress, Burder s 
Village Sermons, and tracts into modern Greek) and preached 
in English, Greek and Italian. He returned to England in 1835, 
became minister of Shepton Mallet Cong. Church in July 1838 
(so Sibree, but C.Y.B., 1867, says 1840). He retired in 1847 
and died at Shepton Mallet on February 23, 1866. (Narrative of 
the Greek Mission by S. S. Wilson, 1839; C.Y.B., 1867, 327-8; 
Lovett, ii, 637; Sibree, No. 193). 

Mrs. Wilson. Her maiden name was Walden (so Sibree) or Walkden 
(so Henry Shaw, Manchester Pioneers of the Cross, 1906, 10) 
and she was a member of Grosvenor Street Church. She died 
on January 6, 1836. 

Elijah Armitage. Born in Manchester in 1780, son of Elkanah 
Armitage, and brother of Ziba Armitage (grandfather of Pro 
fessor Elkanah Armitage, of Yorkshire United College) and of 
Sir Elkanah Armitage, mayor of Manchester in 1846-48. He 
was appointed together with Thomas Blossom (vide infra) as 
a cotton-spinner and sailed on May 19, 1821, to Tahiti with 
machinery for spinning and weaving. The cotton manufacture 
experiment does not seem to have been a success, but Armitage 
remained in the South Seas until 1835 when he sailed home. 
His connection with the L.M.S. was dissolved in 1836, and he 
returned to Manchester. Traces appear to have been lost of 
his branch of the Armitage family. (Lovett, i. 219,228; Sibree, 
No. 212). 

Mrs. Armitage. Accompanied her husband to the South Seas in 


1821. Nothing more seems to be known of her than that she 
was a member of Grosvenor Street Church. 

John Cummins. Born in 1802 in Manchester, was soon left an 
orphan. He taught in Roby s Sunday School and was in Roby s 
classes for preparing cottage preachers. Recommended to the 
Society as a cotton-spinner, he sailed to Madasgascar on May 5, 
1826, with David Johns and James Cameron (vide infra). 
Lovett says that he soon found that there was no scope on the 
island for his abilities and retired from both it and the mission 
in 1828. On the other hand, C.Y.B., 1873, 321, says that he was 
driven out by the persecuting queen, Ranavalona, that he, 
his wife and children were all ill with fever, and that one child 
died on the voyage home. On his return to England, Roby 
wished him to study for the ministry, but being in feeble health, 
sent him to John Ely of Rochdale for training. He settled at 
Smallbridge, Rochdale, and was ordained on August 29, 1832, 
at Bethesda, Blackpool. He was successively minister at 
Holbeck, Kirkheaton and Stubbin Elsecar until his retirement 
in 1865. He died on January 23, 1872(Neall and C.Y.B.). (Ev. 
Mag., 1832, 579; Lovett, i.681; C.Y.B., 1873, 321; Nightingale, 
Lancashire Nonconformity, i.142; Sibree, No. 255). 

James Mitchell. "Oh! that I could pass over in silence the name 
of the twelfth, James Mitchell, who, on his way to Tahiti, 
stopped at Port Jackson, and there deserted his undertaking, 
and violated his vows" (Missionary Portraits, iv). Roby s only 
failure sailed on May 5, 1800, but deserted on November 20. 
(Sibree, No. 73). 
In addition to these twelve, three others are known to have been 

trained by Roby for the mission field. 

Isaac Lowndes. Born 1791 (?) was a church member of Knutsford 
Cong. Church where James Turner, Roby s earliest ministerial 
student (Trans. C.H.S., XIII, 46) was minister from 1808. 
After preliminary study under Roby and at Leaf Square 
Academy, he went to Gosport and was appointed to the Greek 
mission. He was ordained at Chester on August 8, 1815 (Ev . 
Mag., 1815, 389), Roby taking part and proposing the questions 
"with an affectionate seriousness peculiar to himself". He was 
later joined by Samuel Sheridan Wilson. He worked at Zante 
and Corfu and did notable translation work in modern Greek 
and work in establishing and inspecting schools. He continued 
with the L.M.S. until the closing down of the Greek mission 
in 1844, and then became an agent of the British and Foreign 
Bible Society in the Mediterranean until 1860. He died in 1873. 
(Ev. Mag., 1821, 287; 1824, 215, etc.; W. Canton, History oj 


the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1910, iii, 215 f . ; Sibree, 
No. 163; Trans. C.H.S., XIII, 115 f.; his own chief books were 
Lexicon of English and Modern Greek, 1827; Lexicon of Modern 
Greek and English, 1837; Gesenius s Hebrew Lexicon in Modern 
Greek, 1842). His brother was Charles Lowndes, minister of 
Partington for ten years and then of Gatley, Cheshire, from 
1826 to 1860, the year of his death. 

James Kitchingman. Born in 1791. He was a member of Mosley 
Street Cong. Church, Manchester, and together with Robert 
Moffat and George Platt (vide infra) was trained by Roby in 
Manchester for the mission field. Ordained at Surrey Chapel on 
September 30, 1816, he sailed to South Africa on October 31, 
and arrived at Cape Town on January 13 of the following year. 
His best work was done among the Hottentots and at 
Bethelsdorp. He died on June 25, 1848. (Lovett, i.241, 537, 
548, 571 f., etc.; Sibree, No. 167; C.Y.B. 1848, 232). 

George Platt. Born on March 15, 1789, near Tintwistle, Cheshire. 
Under the ministry of William Hudson, he and several other 
youths became candidates for the ministry. Platt expressed a 
preference for service abroad and was put by the Directors of 
the L.M.S. under William Roby. After two years he was 
ordained at Surrey Chapel on September 30, 1816, and sailed 
for the South Seas where he worked for forty years. He 
returned home in 1856, but three years later, in his seventieth 
year, he went back to the South Seas and laboured for another 
six years. He died on April 4, 1865. (C.Y.B. f 1866, 274-6; 
Lovett, i.214-224, 344 f., 375, etc.; Sibree, No. 172). 
Three missionaries are claimed for Cannon Street / Grosvenor 

Street and for William Roby by Henry Shaw in Manchester Pioneers 

of the Cross, but it is doubtful whether that claim can be maintained, 

particularly as Roby himself does not claim these three in his 

Missionary Portraits. 

William Edwards. "The next great venture of the Society was in 
South Africa" says Shaw. "The mission left England on 
December 23, 1798, under the leadership of Dr. Vanderkemp, 
and included, among others, William Edwards, a member of 
the church at Cannon Street. Mr. Edwards experience of 
missionary work was short-lived and not heroic. After accom 
panying Mr. Kitchener (sic) on his mission to the Bushmen, 
he returned in March, 1800, to Capetown, and a few months 
later, in September of that year, he ceased to be a missionary 
of the Society" (op. cit., 6). Shaw is apparently confusing 
W T illiam Edwards and James Edmonds (whom he does not 
mention) who sailed at the same time on the convict ship 


Hillsborough (Ev. Mag., 1799, 39 and 338; Lovett, i.485 /), 
with perhaps a further confused memory of James Mitchell 
(whom also he does not mention). 

Thomas Blossom. A fellow-member of Grosvenor Street with Elijah 
Armitage, says Shaw, with whom he sailed on May 19, 1821, 
to Tahiti. He was a carpenter who went to the South Seas 
and later took the general superintendence of the external affairs 
of the South Sea Academy, which had been established in 18*24 
for the education of missionaries children and where the child- 
king Pomare III was at school. Blossom retired on account 
of ill-health early in 1844. Only Shaw seems to have connected 
Blossom with Grosvenor Street. (Lovett, i.219, 228; Sibree, 
No. 213). 

Mrs. Blossom. Accompanied her husband to the South Seas in 
1821, and was a member of Grosvenor Street Church, says 
Shaw. She died in Tahiti in May 1842. 

We can thus be certain of fifteen men and women (twelve from 
Roby s own church and three others whom he helped to train) upon 
whom he had a direct influence as missionaries. In addition, we 
can also trace a limited or indirect influence on the following: 
James Cameron. Born January 6, 1800, in Perthshire, a member 
of Albion Congregational Church, Leeds, he was appointed to 
Madagascar as carpenter, and spent some months in Man 
chester preparing cotton machinery. Here he identified himseli 
with Grosvenor Street before he sailed in 1826. He died in 1875, 
after long service in Madagascar as builder, teacher of trades, 
and teacher of youth, broken by twenty-eight years in Cape 
Town as surveyor during the Malagasy persecutions. (C.Y.B., 
1877, 348; Sibree, No. 254). 

Henry Royle. Born in Manchester in 1805 or 1807 was "for several 
years connected with the church under the pastoral care of the 
venerable William Roby" (C.Y.B., 1879, 344) and a teacher 
in the Sunday School. In the pastorate of Roby s successor, 
Richard Fletcher (who inherited Roby s missionary zeal), he 
was accepted for the South Seas and was ordained at Grosvenor 
Street in 1838. He died in 1878. (Sibree, No. 371). His wife 
was Sarah Griffiths, also a member of Grosvenor Street. 

William Howe. Born in Ireland in 1797 or 1798 (he himself never 
knew the date of his own birthday) but brought up in England 
and. apprenticed in Manchester. He joined Roby s church and 
was sent out to village preaching. He was invited to become 
pastor of Hindley Cong. Church and was ordained on August 
15, 1832. In 1838 he was accepted by the L.M.S. and sent to 


the South Seas. He died on Raratonga on June 8, 1863. 
(C.Y.B., 1864, 219, 221; Nightingale, iv, 16 f.; Sibree, No. 

Joseph Johnson. Born March 1814 at Stamford but in youth a 
church member at Grosvenor Street. It seems impossible to 
determine the date of his coming to Manchester and to know 
whether he was there during Roby s life. He sailed for the 
South Seas in 1838 (thus making three from Grosvenor Street 
in the same year) and served there until 1849. Later he was 
pastor of the Cong. Church at Fremantle, Western Australia, 
where he died in 1892. He married Harriet Platt, daughter 
of George Platt (vide supra). (Sibree, No. 374). 

The direct influence of Roby grows fainter but the stamp which 
he had left on Grosvenor Street still remained. It would not be 
fantastic to see the influence still working on Jonathan Lees, of 
China (Sibree, No. 578), grandson of an earlier Jonathan Lees who 
was Roby s greatest helper in evangelism and lay preaching 10 , 
and perhaps in Richard Griffiths Hartley of China (Sibree, No. 596), 
and Joseph Gill, of South Africa, son of the student of the same 
name who went from Roby s Academy to Hinckley and then 
Egerton (Ev. Mag., 1843, 51; Sibree, No. 456; Trans. C.H.S.. 
XIII, 46). 


10 There were three members of Roby s church named Jonathan Lees; the 
grandfather, who died in 1841, the son (1802-1872), and the missionary 
grandson (1835-1902). Nightingale, Lancashire Nonconformity, v.24, 133, 
etc., fails to distinguish the first two. 

Alexander Fletcher 


THE Congregational Library has recently come into possession 
of a number of letters and other documents relating to 
Alexander Fletcher. The son of William Fletcher, minister, 
of Bridge of Teith, Alexander graduated at Glasgow and then became 
colleague to his father at the Secession Church at Bridge of Teith 
(1807-11). From 1811 to 1816 he was minister of the Scotch 
(Secession) Church at Miles Lane, London, removing with t-he con 
gregation to Albion Chapel, Moorfields (1816-25). He was sus 
pended from the ministry and the fellowship of the Secession Church 
when an action for breach of promise of marriage was brought 
against him, and in 1826 became minister of the undenominational 
Finsbury Circus Chapel, said to be the largest in London at the time. 
There he remained until his death in 1860. 

In the main the letters are addressed to John Wallace, an Elder 
of the Church, generally for reading to the congregation. Fletcher 
believed strongly in maintaining the pastoral association by letter 
when he was away from home. 

"It has been long a fixed opinion of mine", he wrote from Bristol 
in 1835, "that Ministers in their absence from home, should keep up 
an affectionate epistolary correspondence with their people. Many 
and great benefits would result from it both to people and minister. 
So much did God honour this practice, that a considerable number 
of these early apostolical epistles were literally written under the 
dictates of the Spirit by inspiration, and to the present day form a 
very rich portion of the New Testament records. O what a blank 
the bible would sustain, and what an immense loss the church would 
experience, if the epistles of the New Testament were lost! Blessed 
be God, this is impossible ! Not one part of the sacred volume can 
be lost. Sooner shall the heavens and the earth pass away than one 
word of that divine collection fall to the ground, or be lost to the 
church. The whole word of God, is God s legacy to his beloved 
people, and God Himself is the Executor of his own testament, and 
will preserve the whole of the legacy pure, and entire, till the close 
of ages . 

Fletcher, of course, did not mean to compare his letters with 
those of Paul: if he did the implied challenge was certainly unwise. 
The first letter, from Scotland in 1814, begins : 

Two things fill the Universe, good and Evil. In some places 
Evil is only found. Look to hell s gloomy abode, filled with 


Evil men. In one place good only is found, look up to 

heaven s lovely palace. 

This letter is wholly doctrinal and hortatory. The next, from Ply 
mouth in 1831, describes a visit to Stonehenge, and ruminates on 
the conversion of Britain from paganism, before expressing the 
hope that preachers who are supplying the pulpit in his absence 
will have no reason to complain of empty pews. 

The Bristol letter states that 20,000 inhabitants of the city never 
enter the house of God. He appeals to his flock to realize 

the great importance of private Christians uniting most heartily 
and zealously with ministers by endeavouring to extend the 
Kingdom of Christ in their different spheres and conversations. 
Immense benefit may be done, under God, by prudently and 
affectionately persuading the careless and thoughtless among 
our own relatives and acquaintances to attend the house of God. 
Several among you have acted on this plan, and I believe are 
still acting. Persevere, persevere ! 

In a letter from Devonport in 1836 he muses on the death of Roths 
child and true riches, and asks that the letter be read to "the 
Seminary". Another hortatory epistle from the same place tells of 
a sermon of Thomas Boston, which, though it made him wish to 
run out of the pulpit with a sense of failure, brought 14 persons to 
a saving knowledge of the truth. From Dunblane in the same year 
he writes discussing the place of hills, mountains, and snow in the 
Scriptures. He reminds his hearers of Archbishop Leighton, and 
mentions that he is to attend the funeral of Ebenezer Brown of 
Inverkeithing, the son of John Brown, of Haddington. 

There are few personal allusions in the letters, nothing more than 
a reference to the health of the family, and to one or two pastoral 

Here are the manuscript notes of a sermon, "Heaven the Crystal 
Palace of the Great King, Dec. 25th, 1851" 1 . Psal. xlv. 15. "The 
King s Palace". 

Jesus preached and taught by Parable. Heaven may be con 
sidered under the Parable of a Crystal Palace : 
I Heaven as a Palace 

2 O happy hour when we shall rise . 
To the fair Palace of the Skies, 
And all the Saints, a numerous Train, 
Each like a Prince in glory reign. 

1 The title is in the middle of the page, surrounded by a circle. 

2 Watts, "The King of saints, how fair his face" in The Psalms of David. 


1st. The Builder; God; Psal. viii. 3; xix. 1; cii. 25; Heb. xi. 10. 
When I behold thy works on high. 
Thy Palace bright beyond the Skies [sic] , 
Lord, what is Man, or all his Race, 
That thou should st visit him with Grace. 

2nd. The Building: Materials most precious. Crystal Palace. 


Rev. xxi. 11, 19, 21, 18. (1) Jasper, (2) Sapphire, (3) Chal 
cedony, (4) Emerald, (5) Sardonyx, (6) Sardius, (7) Chrysolite, 
(8) Beryl, (9) Topaz, (10) Chryso, (11) Jacinth, (12) Amethyst. 
3rd. The Size of the Building. Compared with it Earthly Palaces 


I to my Father s House return 
There num rous mansions stand. 
And glory manifold abounds, 
Through all the happy Land. 

4th. The Beauty of the Building. Rev. xxi. 2. 
Behold its golden spires, 
In beauteous prospect rise, 
And brighter crowns than Mortals wear, 
Which sparkle thro the skies. 

5th. The Duration of the Building. 

II Cor. v. 1. . For we know, that if our &c. 
3 There is a House not made with Hands 

Eternal, and on high : 

And here my spirit waiting stands, 

Till God shall bid it fly. 

II Things in the Crystal Palace which remind us of Heaven. And 4 
1st. Its Light. Rev. xxi. 23. 

When shall we reach the Heavenly Place, 
Where this Bright Sun shall brightest shine, 
Leave far behind those shades of Night, 
And view a Glory so Divine ? 

2nd. A Throne. Rev. iv. 2, 3. 

5 Behold the Glories of the Lamb, 
Amidst his Father s Throne, 
Prepare new honours for his Name 
And songs before unknown. 

8 Watts, Hymns and Sacred Songs. 

* Verse quoted in shorthand. 

* This, slightly altered, is Isaac Watts s first hymn. 


3rd. A Fountain. Zech. xiii. 1. 

6 Is Christ a Fountain ? There I bathe, 
And heal the Plague of Sin and Death, 
These Waters, all my soul renew 
And cleane my spotted Garments too. 

7 Open now the Crystal Fountain 
Whence the healing streams do flow; 
Let the fiery, cloudy Pillar, 
Lead me all my Journey through : 
Strong Deliverer ! 
Be thou still my Strength and Shield ! 

4th. Trees. Rev. xxii. 2. 

8 Before the Throne, a Crystal River glides, 
Immortal Verdure decks its cheerful sides; 
Here the Fair Tree majestic rears 
Its blooming Head, and sovereign Virtue bears. 

5th. Beautiful Raiment. Psal. 45, 13. 

9 Exalted high on God s right hand, 
Nearer the Throne than Angels stand, 
With glory crown d in bright array, 
My wond ring Soul says, Who are they? 

These are the Saints beloved of God, 
Wash d are their Robes in Jesus Blood, 
More spotless than the purest white, 
They shine in uncreated light. 

6th. Costly Jewels. Mai. 3, 17. Heb. 1, 3. 
10 Jesus, in Thee our Eyes behold, 
A thousand glories more, 
Than the rich Gems and polished Gold 
The sons of Aaron wore. 

7th. Gathering from Many Nations. Rev. 7, 9. 

From every Kindred, every Tongue, 
Thou brought st thy chosen Race, 
And distant Lands and Isles have showed 
The riches of thy grace. 

8 Watts, "Go worship at Immanuel s feet" in Hymns and Spiritual Songs. 

7 From William Williams, "Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah". 

8 From a hymn (in Fletcher s Collection of Hymns) sung at Wallace s 
memorial service, 29 Sept., 1839. 

9 In Rowland Hill s Collection of Psalms and Hymns, 1783. 

10 Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. 



1st A Company of Children on their way to the Crystal Palace of 
Heaven. Their Description. 

2nd 4 Large Company on the way to the City of Destruction. 
Their Description ! 

3rd Stop, stop, stop in your mad carreer 11 ! Give yourselves to 
Jesus! Reasons. Hasten hasten hasten ! 


Do you wish to escape Hell? Give yourselves, &c. 
Do &c. to reach Heaven? Give, &c. 

Do &c. to dwell for ever in the Crystal Palace of Heaven? Give 
yourselves to Jesus. Death and Eternity near. Make no delay! 

^Hasten O children to be wise, 
And stay not for tomorrow s Sun, 
The longer Wisdom you despise, 
The harder is she to be won. 

O hasten Mercy to implore 
And stay not for tomorrow s Sun, 
For jear the Season should be o er, 
Before the Evening s Stage is run ! 

U A guilty weak and helpless worm, 

On thy kind arms I fall 

Be thou my Lord and Righteousness 

My Jesus and my All ! 

Christmas Day, A. Fletcher. 

Deer. 25th, 1851. 

Fletcher published a good many sermons, but it was as a speaker 
to children and young people that he was widely known. For many 
years at Christmas he preached an Annual Sermon to young people 
which attracted a great crowd. See his biography in the D.N.B., 
and also R. Small, Hist, of the U.P. Church (1904), Vol. XI. 
Readers may be able to place the verses which have so far eluded 

11 The urgency plays havoc with the spelling. 

12 From T. Scott, Lyric Poems (1773), with "children" for "sinner". 

13 Watts, "How sad our state by nature is", in Hymns and Sacred Songs, 
1707 : altered by Wesley and others. 

Tonica Congregational Church 

THROUGH the kindness of Mr. H. H. Burgess of Minneapolis, 
I have been able to examine the church book of a Congre 
gational church which has just ceased its existence. Mr. 
Burgess is descended from one of the original members who was 
first Trustee, and he has been good enough to make extracts for 
me. The comparison between the church (in the State of Illinois) 
and similar churches in England is not without interest. 

The church was organized in the small town of Tonica on the 
7th January, 1857, ten of the thirteen foundation members bringing 
letters from the Vermillion church. The ministries throughout seem 
to have been of short duration. The most striking were those of 
William McConn (1859-65), under whose ministration a church 
was built and the membership rose to 118 before he was killed in 
a railway accident, and William Wilson. 

Here is the minute of the church s origin: 
27th November, 1856. 

At a meeting of Christian brethren convened to take into con 
sideration the expediency of organizing a church of Christ a 
chairman and clerk were appointed. 

Rev. G. B. Hubbard being present was voted to open the meeting 
with a prayer. 

Those present being called on gave an expression of their views 
and feelings concerning the organization of a church. 

The following preamble and resolutions were then moved and 
adopted, viz. 

Whereas, there are in this vicinity a number of professed disciples 
of Christ now or formerly connected with Presbyterian or Congre 
gational churches with which it is impossible or exceedingly 
inconvenient to worship and 

Whereas the church existing in this place adhering as it does 
to the principles and practices of the Baptist denominations fails 
to meet their wants, inasmuch as its rules preclude that free com 
munion among all Christ s disciples which the law of Christ 

Therefore; Resolved that it is expedient for a church of Christ 
to be organized in which said disciples may be united in the fellow 
ship of the Gospel and may carry out their conscientious convictions 
in the observance of Christian ordinances. 

Opportunity was then given for a full expression on the part of 


those present as to the church order or polity which would meet 
their preferences. A majority gave their voices in favour of a 
Congregational church. 

It was then voted (a committee of three) to prepare articles of 
faith, a form of covenant, and standing rules, and report at a future 

This report was made on the 31st December. 1856, and accepted. 
It was voted to ask Congregational churches in the vicinity to send 
representatives to advise on the propriety of their being "organized 
a Congregational church, if deemed advisable to assist in the 
exercises appropriate to the formal institution of such church." 
This council met with them and the church was constituted on the 
7th January, 1857. 

The "Profession of Faith" made by the members read: 
You believe in one Eternal, omnipresent God, the Father, the Son 
and Holy Ghost, the Creator and upholder of all things, infinitely 
and unchangeably powerful, wise and holy, whose purposes and 
providences extend to all events, and who exercises a righteous 
moral government over all his intelligent creatures, requiring them 
under pain of his eternal displeasure to love him supremely and 
to love each other as themselves. 

You believe, that man was originally upright, that our first 
parents freely sinned and fell, and that all of their descendants 
are sinners, and, till renewed by the grace and Spirit of God are 
without holiness, and under the condemnation of God s laws. 

You believe that God has had compassion on sinful men; that the 
Son of God, who is equal with the Father, having taken upon 
himself our nature, has by his sufferings and death, made atone 
ment for sin; that he arose from the dead and ascended into heaven, 
where he ever lives to make intercessions for them that come unto 
God by him, that through him, God offers forgiveness to all men; 
and that every sinner, who turns to God by repentance, with faith 
in his Son, is freely pardoned and will be saved. 

You believe that God has revealed all things necessary to salva 
tion, in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, which being 
given by the inspiration of his Spirit are an infallible rule of faith 
and practice; and that he sends the Holy Spirit to make the truth 
effectual, by whose influences, all who are chosen to eternal life 
are renewed and sanctified in believing and obeying the Gospel. 

You believe that it is the duty of Christ s disciples to associate 
themselves for worship and communion, for mutual watchfulness 
and improvement, for the administration of Baptism and the Lord s 


Supper, and for the perpetuation and extension of his kingdom 
among men; and that any association of holiness for these purposes 
is a Christian church. 

You believe that there will be a resurrection of all the dead; and 
that God will call all men to an account for all their actions, judging 
them in righteousness according to the Gospel, condemning the 
disobedient and unbelieving to everlasting punishment, and admit 
ting the righteous into life eternal. 

These things in the presence of Almighty God, you solemnly 
profess to believe. 

Covenant : 

Through Christ strengthening you, without whom you can do 
nothing, you here, in the presence of God, angels and this assembly 
now profess that you do, and promise that henceforward you will, 
deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, wherein in times past you 
have walked; and you do now give up yourself (or yourselves) 
soul and body and all you have, are, or shall be unto God through 
Jesus Christ, to serve him forever and to be his and at his disposal 
in all things. And you also give up yourself (or yourselves) unto 
the Lord Jesus Christ, to be his disciple (or disciples) to be taught 
and governed by him in all your relations, conditions, and conver 
sations in this world, avouching him to be your supreme teacher, 
your only priest and propitiator, your king and lawgiver. 

And you do further bind yourself (or yourselves) in the strength 
of Christ to walk with the church, in all his ordinances that you 
will remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, and so far as in 
you lies will punctually attend all stated meetings of the church, as 
well as the exercises of Public worship, and faithfully perform the 
duties of family and secret prayer; and you likewise bind yourself 
(or yourselves) to walk with the members of this church in all 
memberlike love and submission. 

Then doth this church likewise promise you, that through the 
help of Christ without whom we also can do nothing, we will walk 
towards you in all helpfulness, brotherly love and watchfulness. 

Standing Rules were agreed on as follows: 

1. Persons who have not made a public profession of religion by 
becoming members in full communion with some Christian 
church are to give satisfactory evidence of Christian character 
before being received as members of the church; and upon such 
evidence being given, they may be received by their profession 
of faith and solemn public assent to the covenants of the church. 

2. Any person bringing a dismissal and a recommendation from a 
Christian church, unless something is shown to invalidate his 


testimonials, may be admitted to membership in this church 
without a public assent to the covenant, by a vote of the church. 
(Abrogated by vote of church and amended, that persons 
hereafter bringing letters from sister churches are required 
publicly to assent to the covenant of the church. 5th January, 

3. This church holds it to be a solemn and important duty to 
attend watchfully to the discipline, which Christ has instituted 
in his church. 

4. In all cases of private offences, the rule, as given in the 
eighteenth chapter of Matthew s Gospel, is to be strictly 

5. In case of public and notorious offences, against the laws of 
religion and morality, the church as a body, may proceed to 
call the offender to an account, by a committee appointed for 
that purpose. 

6. Every member of this church, shall be considered as under 
the watch, care and discipline of this church until he shall have 
been regularly dismissed from his connection with it by vote 
of the church. 

7. Baptism is to be administered to unbaptized adults on the 
profession of their faith in Christ; and it is the privilege of 
such parents as are in covenant with God and his church to 
dedicate their infant children to God in this ordinance. 

8. All fellow disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ who are occasionally 
present in our assemblies for worship are to be invited to 
commune with us in Christian ordinance. 

9. Any member of this church removing to another place, is 
expected to ask a dismission and recommendation \o some 
Christian church at the place of his or her residence within 
one year after the time of his or her removal. Any such person 
neglecting to ask for a dismission and recommendation as 
aforesaid, may be called to account by the church in such 
manner as may be deemed expedient. And if any such person, 
having been thus admonished, shall persevere in that neglect 
for another period of six months without rendering satisfactory 
reason for so doing, then this church may at its discretion 
declare such member has broken his or her covenant with the 
church and that the obligations of the church to watch over 
that member have ceased. II Thess. 3, 6. 

It is also expected and required that persons who may receive 
certificates of regular dismissal and recommendation to other 
Christian churches, shall present the same as soon as practic 
able. If they neglect to do so they may be called to account 


and proceeded with as in the case of those neglecting to ask 
for a dismission and recommendation. 

10. On or about the first day of January each year there shall be 
an annual meeting of the church for the election of trustees and 
the transaction of any other business that may come properly 
before it. (Term of office, 3 years.) 

11. The election of deacons shall be by ballot. For the present two 
deacons shall be elected, who shall serve for the term of three 
years (amended the 4th January, 1873, so as to suspend the 
voting by ballot and increase the number to three). 

Declaration : 

In entering into covenant to walk together in the ordinances of 
the Gospel, we as a church believing that there exists a great 
defection from the principles of Christian morality on the part of 
many churches and multitudes of professed followers of the 
Redeemer desire solemnly to record our views on certain points. 

1. We esteem the holding of our fellow men as property, to be 
an immorality in practice, and that the defence of it is a heresy 
in doctrine either of which is to be regarded as a disqualifica 
tion for church membership. 

2. We have unconquerable and conscientious objection to the 
banding of men together in secret conclaves, united by 
mysterious symbols of affiliation, and as nearly as we can 
ascertain imposing upon those initiated, profane oaths and 
improper obligations. These things we deem inconsistent with 
simplicity and openness of the Gospel and the precepts of our 
Saviour. Let your communications be yea, yea and nay, nay 
for whatsoever is more than this cometh of evil. 

3. We also think it important, to express our decided reprobation 
of all those practices, which partake of or are intimately blended 
with the social and personal dissipation of the times. Whatever 
may be claimed to be and whatever may be true respecting 
any of them, in themselves considered, we confidently affirm 
it to be impossible for the professed disciples of Christ, while 
addicted to them or any of them "to avoid the appearance of 
evil" or "to keep themselves unspotted from the world." 

We would have it understood, that, as we conceive these views 
to be dictated by the letter and Spirit of the Gospel so we would 
commit ourselves as a church to the conduct of the discipline of 
Christ s house in accordance with them. [Written with dancing in 

In 1877 a Dr. Black and his wife presented their letters from a 
church in Ohio. These were approved, but objection was taken 


on the ground that Dr. Black was a Mason, and a resolution was 
passed that Rule 2 applied to Masonry. Dr. Black withdrew his 
letter, and five members asked for dismission. There was consider 
able controversy, and a group which opposed the rule against 
Masonry was suspended. On the 6th October, 1877, it was resolved 
that the Creed, Covenant, Standing Rules, and Declaration should 
not be altered without notice being given at a quarterly business 

There are not many references to public affairs, though the 
budget for 1867 has significance. 

American Board $20.00 
Missionary Assoc. for Freedmen 200.00 

Home Missions 20.00 

N.W. Freedmen Committee 35.00 

American Tract Society 7.80 

Repairs 1300.00 

Minister 400.00 

Seamen s Course 5.00 

American Tract Society 7.80 

Bible Society 15.00 

Tonica was in the line of the underground for escaped slaves on 
the way to Canada, and many people in the locality aided slaves 
on their way. Hence the interest in freedmen. 

Changing conditions caused the church to decay. There have 
been no regular services since 1931, and in 1948 the church was 
disbanded, and its assets divided among denominational charities. 



Dacre Press. 25s. 

We give a warm welcome to this Oxford Ph.D. thesis, both for itself 
and as a promise of good things to come. It is indeed a matter of gratitude 
that yet another young student is giving himself to Church history. Never 
theless we have to confess that at first the book made us afraid : it was so 
patently a young man s book, with a grandiose Preface, an imposing but 
quite unsatisfactory bibliography, many works cited at second-hand, and 
a host of phrases like "offset the abuses which had encrusted the Sacrament", 
"caused many monks and nuns to leave their solitary lives" (italics ours). 
But as we read on, the book improved out of all recognition : another hand 
seemed to have taken up the pen, and the concluding chapters and the 
appendixes are in every way admirable. 

Naturally we are disappointed that the volume is weakest in the period 
with which we are most familiar. Its failings there were obvious in the 
bibliography: if Dr. Davies had been familiar with the writings of Dixon 
and Drysdale, Pearson, Garrett, and Haller, and above all with Prof. M. M. 
Knappen s Tudor Puritanism, there would have been a different story to 
tell. The sort of thing that frightened us was the bibliography s "A Parte 
of a Register, MS. in Dr. Williams Library (circa 1590)". Now A parte of 
a register is a printed Puritan corpus, some 50 copies of which escaped 
destruction, and all of which we have examined: the "MS. in Dr. Williams 
Library" is The Seconds Parte of a Register, a Calendar of which we pub 
lished as long ago as 1915. This is but one of the signs that Dr. Davies had 
never perused at first hand many of his texts : perhaps there is some excuse 
that Barrow, Greenwood, and Penry are quoted via Burrage, for copies are 
rare, but the forthcoming edition will put an end to all that. 

In spite of this criticism we should be glad to know that the book was 
going to a second edition, for it provides a succinct and useful account, of 
Puritan worship in the later period. In that happy event, we hope that 
Dr. Davies will give us more dates and evidence for some of his confident 
statements, and will tone down some of his dogmatic (and sometimes incon 
sistent) assertions; on p. 207, e.g., with "complete unanimity" the Puritans 
have a weekly celebration of Holy Communion, on p. 213 it is "generally" 
weekly, and on p. 256 it is monthly I This may be a matter of dating, or 
it may arise from the fact that, despite attempts at rigid classification into 
Puritans, Separatists, Barrowists, Brownists, Independents, we are often not 
clear who Dr. Davies s "Puritans" are: those who remained within the 
Church of England and still desired purity of worship are almost ignored. 

Had the volume begun with the 17th century, it would have deserved 
enthusiastic commendation as well as warm welcome. The weakness of the 
earlier chapters must lower the marking; it would have been avoided had 
Dr. Davies s supervisor been Dr. Scott Pearson or Prof. Knappen, or any 
body steeped in Puritan literature. 

We trust that Dr. Davies s work in South Africa will not divert his 
attention from this subject. If he can go on from volume to volume with 
the progress manifested in these covers he will indeed render great service 
to students of the period. But this immortal garland is to be won not 
without dust and heat. ALBERT PEEL. 


WALKER REVISED, being a Revision of John Walker s Sufferings of the 
Clergy during the Grand Rebellion. 1642-1660. By A. G. MATTHEWS. 
Oxford University Press. 40s. 

This volume, as one would expect from the compiler of Calamy Revised 
(to which it adds many details passim), is a scholarly and painstaking work, 
of incalculable value to the student of the 17th century, as to the local 
historian or genealogical researcher. 

It is primarily a source-book with a wealth of personal and parochial 
facts concerning the sequestered clergy, but it can be read as well as 
referred to, and it provides many fascinating sidelights upon the ecclesias 
tical and social life of its period. 

Walker s Sufferings was an Anglican retort to Calamy s account of the 
rejected Nonconformists, and in his Introduction Mr. Matthews gives a 
reasoned estimate of Walker as historian as well as protagonist, and of his 
work, "A storehouse of historical facts", "an illustration of how history 
is seen and used in history". This revision, adding to Walker s catalogue 
nearly a thousand more names, justifies that writer s claim that the loyalist 
clergy suffered more extensively than the Nonconformists a total number 
of sequestered and otherwise persecuted incumbents of about 2,425 is given 
although a smaller number was actuary deprived and many were only 
mildly harassed and not a few extruded on grounds which Walker himself 
makes little effort to challenge. 

The absence of an index locorum such as that to Calamy Revised, which 
indeed gives that volume so much of its usefulness and makes it such a 
comprehensive guide to places as well as persons, becomes the more regret 
table as one uses this book : it is a defect we trust the future may see 
remedied dull though its preparation must be. It is true that Walker 
has an index (not impeccable or complete) to the parishes where sequestra 
tions took place, but few have copies of that 1714 work, which has not been 
reprinted, to use with this Revision, and the absence of the fascinating links 
and cross-references which give Calamy Revised such vitality, makes it 
difficult to trace incumbents especially the "Intruders", who are not 
indexed. The Index of "Sufferers" would also have been more helpful had 
it included more of the less obvious variants so common to 17th century 
spelling. It is not apparent, e.g., that Brabant, R. (p. 404) = Brabourne. 
We have only discovered one omission, however (Craig, , p. 2), and it 
would be inexcusable to quibble about minor imperfections in a work of 
such comprehensiveness. 

On p. xviii, pai. 3 (repeated on p. 12), Bishop Skinner s claim to have 
secretly conferred priest s orders during the Interregnum on between 4,000 
and 5,000 candidates should read 400-500. The statement (same paragraph) 
that "The authorities of the day made no provision for non-episcopal 
ord .nation" seems to overlook the Parliamentary provision for Presbyterian 
ordinations which, however temporary, was "authoritarian" and extensively 
adopted: at least 700 Classical ordinations are definitely attested. 

It will be the work of years to go through the entries seriatim, but 
twelve months constant reference has revealed its careful preparation : a 
number of errata, supplementary identifications and details are being noted, 
which we hope may be set out in due course, together with a more compre 
hensive evaluation of the significance of this work for the student of 
mid-1 7th century history. 

Mr. Matthews has done us a further great service -and his twin volume 
will always rank as outstanding and authoritative works of reference. 

C. E. 


It may seem strange that a book with the title John Fergusson, 1727- 
1750: An Ayrshire Family and the Forty-Five (Cape, 10s. 6d.) should be 
noticed in these Transactions. The reason is that John Fergusson was sent 
by his father, Lord Kilkerran, a Judge of the Court of Session, to the 
Academy of Philip Doddridge at Northampton, and many of Doddridge s 
letters intersperse a well-written narrative by a scion of the family. The 
high esteem in which Doddridge is generally held is seen throughout, and 
the care he and Mrs. Doddridge took of the health as well as of the morals of 
their pupils. John seems to have had no taste for the classics, and for a 
time he was inclined to "slack", but the devotion of his parents there are 
some moving letters from his mother and the training and solicitude of 
Doddridge seem to have made a man of him. Doddridge, active in opposi 
tion to the Jacobite Rebellion, appears to have been surprised when his 
protege enlisted. Clearly John was physically ill-fitted for a military 
career, and he died at the age of 23, meeting death with bravery and com 
posure. The whole picture is that of an affectionate family there were 14 
children. Politically the value of the book is its exposure of the folly of 
the English in regarding the rebellion as a national Scottish movement, 
and not the work of a comparative few. 

Free Churchmen have never been excited about the long controversy 
concerning the date and the nature of Matthew Parker s consecration as 
Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. F. G. Shirley s Elizabeth s First Archbishop 
(S.P.C.K., 2/-) is a reply to Mr. J. C. Whitebrook s Consecration of the 
Most Reverend Matthew Parker, which contended that the traditional date 
of 17 December, 1559, was incorrect, for Parker had been consecrated on the 
29th October. Dr. Shirley s is an able and good-tempered essay, but the 
facsimile of the Preamble of the Probate Act Book beginning 9th December, 
shows how argument may long continue. In it Parker is described as 
"electi et consecra", but "consecra" is underlined (i.e., cancelled) and 
"confirmati" added. Mr. Whitebrook maintains that "confirmati" was 
added in the 17th century, and that "consecra" is- for the expected 
"consecra t i" ; Dr. Shirley said the scribe was going to write "consecrati" , 
remembered before the word was finished that Parker had not yet been 
consecrated, and made the correction. Dr. Shirley says the addition has a 
16th century look; to us it looks as if it may have been written later ! But 
Dr. Shirley has much stronger evidence than this, and all interested in the 
subject should read his booklet. 

Spade Work (Hutchinson, 10s. 6d.) is Grace Carlton s biography of 
her father, Thomas Greenwood, the pioneer of the Public Library Move 
ment. Greenwood s background was Congregational: not merely was he 
said to be descended from John Greenwood, the Elizabethan martyr, but 
he was brought up in Hatherlow Chapel, like Sir Ernest Barker. There 
he owed much to the minister, William Urwick, as he did in Sheffield to 
another Congregational minister, T. W. Holmes; his attachment to Congre 
gationalism continued when he left for London, and he addressed the 
Assembly of the Union of England and Wales in 1892. 

His story would have appealed to Samuel Smiles. Becoming as a boy 
aware of the value of a Library, he became a propagandist for libraries 
for the people. Not only did he write the standard work. Free Public 
Libraries, but he established a valuable Library for Libraries. Securing 
financial stability by the publication of trade journals which became 
prosperous, he gave his life to the causes which had so early enlisted his 
sympathy, and to the end was "in labours abundant". 

Miss Carl ton has told the story in a way that holds the reader s atten 
tion, though she has not been able to escape "Nonconformist" (why is this 


word such a pitfall?) on p. 93, and the form and content alike of one 
sentence we found baffling: "The Captain of the side that was in until 
that side was caught out". 

We should like to think that the Congregational churches were still 
producing men of the independent outlook and public spirit of Thomas 
Greenwood. And we should like to think also that, even in days when the 
State has taken over so much previously done by the individual, there are 
Congregational ministers giving a hand to promising young people as 
William Urwick and T. W. Holmes did to Thomas Greenwood. 

The Friends Historical Society has published as a Supplement Letters 
to William Dewsbury and Others, thirty-four letters transcribed and edited 
by Dr. H. J. Cadbury from the originals in the Record Room of the Friends 
Meeting House in York. Dewsbury was one of the most attractive of the 
early Quakers, and these letters show how he had the affection and trust 
of those who, like himself were "publishers of truth". Dr. Nuttall has 
lent a hand in dating some of the letters and annotating some of the 


Contemporaries and Local Histories 

The Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society (June 1948) 
continue the story of Walmsley Unitarian Chapel by the Rev. F. 
Kenworthy, commence Some Account of the Annual Meeting of 
Presbyterian Ministers of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South 
Yorkshire, from 1798, by the Rev. C. Gordon Bolam, give details 
of Joseph Hunter s MS, Britannia Puriianica, notes on Baxter s 
Works in Chapel Libraries, the Dudley-Newbury Academy, and a 
centenary review of Yr Ymofynnwydd (or Welsh "Inquirer", 

The Baptist Quarterly, April- July, 1948, contains an appreciation 
of Dr. W. T. Whitley, President of the Baptist Historical Society, 
by Mr. Seymour J. Price, and an article on his Books and Pamphlets 
by the Rev. Ernest A. Payne; the Rev. G. R. Beasley-Murray 
"Thinks again about Daniel," the Rev. B. G. Collins writes on The 
Church and Communism, and the Rev. R. B. Hannen on A Sug 
gested Source of Some expressions in the Baptist Confession of 
Faith, London, 1644. 

The Wesley Historical Society s Proceedings continue (March and 
June, 1948) Dr. H. Miles Brown s Early Days of Cornish Methodism, 
and various items of Wesley ana: the June number brings articles 
on The New Room, Bristol, and Hugh Bourne s Printing Press, and 
(in September) The First Quarterly Meeting, by the Rev. C. Deane 
Little, John Wesley and a Quaker Mystic (Richard Freeman of 
Yeovil), and further Wesley letters. The Rev. George Lawton 
writes in this and the following (December) number on Proverbs in 
Wesley s Letters, and this fourth issue concludes Dr. Miles Brown s 
study of Early Cornish Methodism. 

Among local Church histories we note with appreciation: The 
Story of Ebley Chapel (Glos.), by the Rev. Levi Criddle; Dodington 
Congregational Church, Whitchurch, Salop, 1798-1948, by the Rev. 
R. W. Tomalin; The Great Meeting, Bideford, 1648-1948, by the 
Rev. Tal. H. James; Charlesworth Independent Chapel, 1798-1948, 
by the Rev. Reginald Mansfield; Roydon Congregational Church, 
1798-1948, by Dr. Peter Ackroyd and others; The Nonconformist 
Churches of Colchester, by Alderman A. E. Blaxill; The History 
of Sawston Congregational Church, by the Rev. Richard Ball; 
Little Lane 6- Greenfield (Bradford), by Margaret Kindle and 
A. Donald Flather; Pype Hayes Congregational Church, by Mrs. 
W. Kendall Gale; Heaton Moor Congregational Church, 1873-1948, 
by G. E. Kiffin; Pollokshields Cong. Church, 1899-1949, by the 



Rev. K. G. Ogilvie; Southchurch Park, Southend-on-Sea, by H. 
Margerison; Sussex Congregational Union, 1849-1949, by the Rev. 
F. G. Elson; Hither Green Congl. Church, 1899-1949, by R. 
Lemmy; The Growth of a Church, 1899-1949 (Hale, Cheshire), by 
the Rev. T. J. Lander and J. A. Sugden; ten of these writers being 
members of the Society. 

Mr. Seymour J. Price contributes to The Genealogists Magazine 
(March, 1948) an article on "Possible Contributions of the English 
Free Churches towards Pedigrees" which our Secretary followed 
(June 1949) by "Congregationalism s Contribution". 

The Isaac Watts Bicentenary Commemorations produced, inter 
alia, an interesting brochure, edited by the Rev. H. I. Frith, for the 
Southampton Commemoration (Southampton Congl. Council, 6d.), 
while the Catalogue of the Exhibition arranged by the Borough of 
Stoke Newington (Borough Library, 6d.) contains a useful biblio 
graphy and other local details. 

MS. Autobiographies at Dr. Williams s 

(For access to the MSS. here described and for permission to publish 
this article our thanks are due to the Librarian of Dr. Williams s 
Library. G.F.N.) 

IN The Inquirer for the 12th December, 1874, and perhaps in 
other Nonconformist periodicals of about the same date, there 
appeared a letter from the Rev. Thomas Hunter, then 
Librarian of Dr. Williams s Library, from which the following 
sentences are taken: 

I propose making an effort towards a MS. collection of 
biographies of the existing Nonconformist ministry, in connec 
tion with Churches of Puritan lineage, by appealing to each 
individual for a sketch, long or short as it may please him, 
of the leading events of his life. These various sketches I 
propose to arrange alphabetically in sections, to page, index 
and bind them in volumes to be permanently deposited in Dr. 
Williams Library for future reference by such as desire to 
consult them. . . . 

An authentic record of the men now engaged in upholding 
the principles of Protestantism and liberty, so much identified 
for upwards of two eventful centuries with English Noncon 
formity, would be of special interest and facilitate the labour 
of the future biographer or historian. 

I have only to add that by the sympathy and counsel of 
Dr. Martineau, Dr. Stoughton, Dr. Angus, Dr. Lorimer, Dr. 
Halley, the Rev. Professor Newth, and others, I now bring my 
plan before the ministers of London, and hold myself prepared 
to prosecute it according as the mode of their response to the 
individual appeal to be made to them may be encouraging. 

If in the following year, as he intended, Mr. Hunter applied to 
upwards of 4,000 ministers for the proposed autobiographical 
sketches, the response was certainly far from encouraging. Only 
74 ministers appear to have returned the sketches requested. 

Each appeal sent out by Mr. Hunter was accompanied by a printed 
sheet containing "Suggestions for Outline of Minister s Autobio 
graphical Sketch." 



These ran as follows: 

Christian name and Surname in full round hand at top of 
first page, with academical distinction, if any, as D.D. : 
LL.D. : B.A. : M.A. : &c. ; then denominational connexion in 
brackets thus (Presbyterian) (Congregational) (Baptist) &c. ; 
date and place of birth lineage place of school and college 
education place of first, second, or third settlement as minister 
in succession to whom and any particulars of the congrega 
tion then as compared with the present condition any details 
or remarks bearing on the thought and work of Nonconformity 
in the district name and date of book, sermon, or other literary 
work published by the writer. 

N.B. The foregoing are but heads. The writer of course 
has full discretion as to his sketch. 

The 74 sketches returned, though not paged, indexed and bound, 
as had been intended, were preserved in Dr. Williams s Library, 
and there they remain, arranged in alphabetical order. So far as 
is known, no use has been made of them in biographies, or bio 
graphical descriptions, of their subjects. With the exception of one 
brief printed article, the sketches were written on the folio sheets 
provided, the length varying from a few lines to 80 sheets. Some 
of the ministers submitted a photograph, as requested in the 
- Directions" which were issued with the "Suggestions" copied 

In the alphabetical lists subjoined, the names are followed by 
an initial indicating the "denominational connexion" as claimed 
(B.(aptist), C.(ongregational), I.(ndependent), L.(iberal) C.(hrist- 
ian), Pr.(esbyterian), U.(nitarian)). Ph. indicates that a photo 
graph is preserved with the sketch. The number given is the 
number of sheets covered. An asterisk has been placed against the 
names of those writers who are the subjects of articles in the 
Dictionary of National Biography. 

* Angus, Joseph B. pr. 

Ashton, Robert C. Ph. 2 

Aubrey, W. H. S. C. Ph. 4 

*Aveling, T. W. B. C. 8 

Barfield, A. F. C. 2J 

*Beard, J. R. U. Ph. 6J 

Bensley, William B. 1$ 


Bergin, J. M. 




Bewlay, Edward 



Bowring, Thomas 




Brandon, Alfred 




*Brock, William 



Bromley, Henry 




Bull, Josiah 




Burchell, W. F. 



*Burns, Dawson 




Carey, C. S. 



Corbin, John 



Cowdy, Samuel 




Eldridge, Samuel 




Gill, William 




Godwin, J. H. 



Gordon, John 



Harrison, J. C. 




Hastings, Frederick 



Hicks, Jonathan 




*Higginson, Edward 




Hill, Thomas 



Kitchens, J. H. 



Hurry, Nicholas 



Jennings, Nathaniel 



Jones, Eliezer 




*Kenrick, John 



Kirtland, Charles 



Le Bloud, James 



Lockwood, John 



McAll, Samuel 



McKee, J. R. 



Martin, Samuel 



*Miller, Josiah 



Mummery, I. V. 





Murphy, G. M. C. Ph. 8 

Muscutt, Edward C. 7 

*Newth, Samuel C. 8 

Nicholson, George C. 6 

Odgers, W. J. U. Ph. 7 

*Parker, Joseph C. \ 

Pike, J.B. C. Ph. 4 

Pulling, John C. Ph. 8 

*Reynolds, H. R. C. 13 

Robberds, C. W. Pr.-U. Ph. 3j 

Robberds, John Pr. or U. 3J 

Ross, John C. , 5 

Sears, James B. Ph. 4 

Shaen, Richard U. 3J 

Short, J. L. L.C. 80 

Simpson, Robert C. 8 

*Smith, G. V. Pr. 3J 

Smith, Matthew C. Ph. 5J 

Spence, James C. 5J 

Spong, James C. 15J 

Stallybrass, Edward C. Ph. 6 

Stallybrass, T. E. C. 2J 

*Stoughton, John C. 3} 

*Suffield, R. R. U. Ph. 3| 

Sugden, John C. Ph. 3 

Tiddy, W. P. C. Ph. 11 

Tozer, T. W. C. 2J 

Unwin, W. J. C. j 

Wearmouth, Robert C. 3 

Whitehead, J. T. U. 3 

Wicksteed, Charles U. 3 

Wilkins, George I. 2J 

Wright, John U. 2J 


It is disappointing that Joseph Parker s account of himself, 
which might have been expected to be racy, is so brief: Parker 
was evidently in a terse mood on the day he wrote it. It runs 
as follows: 

Joseph Parker D.D. (Congregationalist). Born at Hexham, 
Northumberland, on April 9th, 1830. Was assistant to Rev. 
Dr. Campbell, Tabernacle, London, for nine months. Was 
ordained at Banbury, Oxfordshire, on November 8th, 1853. 
Remained there until 1858 & built a new chapel in the town. 
Removed to Manchester (Cavendish Street Chapel) in succession 
to the Rev. Robert Halley D.D. Accepted an invitation to 
Poultry Chapel, London, in June 1869. Sold that chapel for 
50,200, & with the proceeds built the City Temple, Holborn 
Viaduct, London, which chapel was opened for public worship 
on May 19th, 1874. Dr. Parker is the author of the following 
works : 

Ecce Deus 1 Hodder & Stouhton 

Church Questions. (Snow). 

The City Temple 4 vols. (Partridge). 

and many smaller books. 

One or two of the sketches, e.g. those by H. R. Reynolds and 
John Stoughton, may perhaps be found suitable for publication in 
these pages at a later date. 


THE 51st Annual Meeting of the Society was held at Westminster 
Chapel on 17 May, 1950, at 5.30 p.m. There were present 
60 members and 29 non-members. In the vacancy of the 
Presidency and in the absence through ill health of Dr. A. J. Grieve, 
Dr. G. F. Nuttall took the Chair. The Rev. R. G. Martin read a 
warm tribute to Dr. Albert Peel, and the meeting stood in silence for 
a moment, in grateful remembrance of all that Dr. Peel had given to, 
and had accomplished for, the Society. Dr. Peel s death also leaves 
the Senior Editorship of these Transactions vacant. It was agreed 
that the time had come to undertake a careful consideration of the 
whole future of the Society, in relation to the nature of the Transactions 
and the Society s general purpose and policy, as well as its personnel, 
and to do so more fully than is possible in the brief time allowed for 
our annual meetings. To this end a committee was appointed for one 
year, to bring definite recommendations to the next Annual Meeting. 
The surviving officers, who were re-elected pro tern., were asked to 
serve on this committee, together with the following : the Rev. 
T. P. Brooks, the Rev. A. G. Matthews, Dr. R. S. Paul, the Rev. 
J. H. Pearce, the Rev. J. H. Taylor and the Rev. L. T. Towers (in 
three cases subject to consent). The committee was asked to pay 
special attention to the rehabilitation of the Congregational Library, 
which in the past had been so closely connected with the Society, and 
the continued inaccessibility of which was not only a serious loss to our 
own members but a public disgrace. For the ensuing year the 
Presidency was therefore left vacant. The Rev. C. E. Surman was 
warmly thanked for his unwearying labours on the Society s behalf, 
which have included the answering during the year of more than 400 
letters relating to our history, and the recruiting of over 100 new 
members, thus increasing our membership by nearly 50% and raising 
it to the record figure of 335. A message of greeting was sent to Dr. 
Grieve, whose absence for the first time for so many years was much 

Dr. R. S. Paul then read a paper entitled " The Lord Protector : 
Personal Religion and Public Action." There was unfortunately no 
time for discussion, but much interest was aroused, and it was agreed 
that the paper should be printed in these Transactions. 

Several pieces of historical work on which Dr. Albert Peel was 
engaged have been left unfinished by his death. Of particular interest 
to the Society was the " corpus of the writings of the Fathers of 



Independency," the seven projected volumes of which were listed in 
the editorial of our last number. His work on these was less complete 
than his words there may have led readers to suppose, and the Sir 
Halley Stewart Trust feared at first that it would not be possible 
to publish more than the first two volumes, Cartwrightiana and The 
Works of Robert Harrison and Robert Browne. Even these volumes 
have required much editing, in which members of the Society have 
helped valiantly, and were found to contain little but the texts, 
transcribed verbatim et literatim, with an almost complete absence, alas, 
of the annotation and exegesis which would have added so much to 
their value. The Trust has secured the assistance of Professor L. H. 
Carlson, of North Western University, Illinois, and hopes to publish 
the series under the joint editorship of Dr. Peel and Professor Carlson. 
We understand that Professor Norman Sykes has accepted the oversight 
of a further historical work of Dr. Peel s, which it is hoped may be 
published by the Cambridge University Press. 

It will be appropriate if The Works of Robert Browne can be published 
during the present year, for, though the evidence depends upon 
calculation, not upon explicit record, 1550 ? has been generally 
accepted as the year of Browne s birth, and the fourth centenary has 
not been overlooked. An excellent article, entitled " The * Gathered 
Church : Robert Browne and the Tradition of Congregationalism " 
appeared in The Times of 9 May, 1950, together with a sympathetic 
leader. The Independent Press, with commendable promptitude, 
gained permission to reprint these, and they are obtainable for a penny. 
" The tradition of Robert Browne," the article ends, " was probably 
never more widespread and powerful than it is to-day." On 6 
September there are to be local celebrations at Northampton, where, 
in the churchyard of St. Giles, Browne lies buried. At Achurch, the 
living he held after he conformed, and during his incumbency there, 
was born John Smith, the Cambridge Platonist. It is intriguing to 
wonder if the Rector had any influence over the growing boy. 

Next year Northampton prepares yet greater celebrations, for in 
1951 falls the bicentenary of the death of Philip Doddridge. Fuller 
particulars of this will appear in a later number of these Transactions, 
which (it is planned) will have special reference to Doddridge; but 
it is already possible to say that a small book has been prepared, with 
chapters on Doddridge s several contributions to the religious life of 
his time by the Rev. A. T. S. James, Professor Victor Murray, Dr. 
G. F. Nuttall, the Rev. E. A. Payne, the Rev. Erik Routley and the 
Rev. Roger Thomas, Dr. Williams Librarian. 


Now that we have entered the 1950 sthe tercentenaries of our oldest 
churches will be arriving in increasing numbers. It is good to know 
that many churches are aware and proud of this fact and are desirous 
of observing the occasion fittingly. At the same time some of the dates 
of formation of our churches given in the Congregational \ear Book 
are doubtful, to say the least. Churches will be well advised to consult 
Mr. Surman about the appropriate date, and should not be unduly 
cast down if this is put forward ten years or so, towards 1962. Many 
of our churches probably did continue, rather than originate, in 1662, 
but in the absence of written records it is unwise to assume an earlier 

There can be no doubt, however, in the case of Bunyan Meeting, 
Bedford, which has a well-planned programme extending throughout 
the whole of 1950 ; nor in that of Castle Gate, Nottingham, which is 
already looking ahead to 1955. Castle Gate has had its history recorded 
twice already, once in 1855 and again in 1905. Both these works are of 
value, but the sources now available go far beyond the Church Book, 
upon which both books, largely, are based, primary though this must 
remain. The Church Book of Bunyan Meeting, Bedford, edited in 
facsimile by Professor G. B. Harrison, similarly remains a prime 
source for that church; but, though its history also has been written 
twice before, in 1788 and in 1849, we warmly welcome Bunyan Meeting, 
Bedford, 1650-1950, by Mr. H. G. Tibbutt, one of our members, 
which is published by the Trustees of Bunyan Meeting for five shillings. 
This is a careful piece of work, covering the whole 300 years, with 
attention to the village churches so long associated with Bunyan 
Meeting, with photographs of ministers and others and of the meeting 
house as it was and is, and with a facsimile of a page in the Church 
Book written by Bunyan himself. The detailed index greatly adds to 
the usefulness of an excellent handbook. 

The latest volume of the Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford 
University Press, 50*.), edited by Mr. L. G. Wickham Legg, which 
includes lives of the eminent who died in the years 1931-1940, is 
fascinating reading, but it cannot be claimed that Nonconformists 
generally, or Congregationalists in particular, make any notable 
appearance. Of the 730 names the divines number 50. Of these 
only one was a Congregationalist : R. F. Horton. J. V. Bartlet appears 
as " a recognized leader in the Congregational churches," " although 
never ordained." The Anglican divines are naturally in the vast 
majority : of these, bishops and scholars supply a goodly number, but 
more popular priests are represented by Fr. Jellicoe and Fr. Waggett, 
Dick Sheppard and Pat McCormick. One man stands out as a saint : 
Alexander Nairne, in whose lectures, nor only there, " men felt that 


they had seen a great light." The Roman Catholics provide Cardinal 
Bourne and Dom Cuthbert Butler, the Methodists Silas and Joseph 
Hocking and Sir Henry Lunn. Loyalty to English Presbyterianism 
is recorded in the lives of two eminent laymen, John Buchan and 
J. K. Fotheringham. There are no Quakers, but Quaker ancestry is 
mentioned in eleven cases, and Quaker schooling in a further three. 

That only 39 of the 730 are women, and that these include a queen, 
three princesses, a duchess, a marchioness and a countess may be 
thought remarkable. It is, perhaps, a reminder, how recent is the 
movement towards equality of opportunity for men and women. 
The most striking fact of all is that 70 of the 730, i.e., nearly 10%, 
were unmarried, and that a further 119 were married but had no issue. 
This proportion is no doubt higher than in the population at large; 
but that more than 25% of Britain s most eminent men and women 
in these years left no children to whom (whether through heredity or 
environment) their gifts might have been bequeathed is a sobering 

We offer a modest welcome to our new and distinguished con 
temporary, the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, edited from Manchester 
University by the Rev. C. W. Dugmore. The Journal is a praise 
worthy venture in the field of oecumenical scholarship. The first 
number contains, in the field of special interest to our Society, an 
article surveying the correspondence of Richard Baxter, both as 
printed in his lifetime and as still in MS. at Dr. Williams Library 
and elsewhere. 

Albert Peel 

THE following tribute to Dr. Albert Peel has been received from 
Dr. H. McLachlan, the Editor of the Transactions of the 
Unitarian Historical Society : " Acquainted with most of his 
work, knowing him personally and having heard him lecture and 
preach, I am greatly moved with a sense of the deep loss that Con 
gregationalism, Nonconformity generally, Journalism and not least 
Scholarship have suffered by his untimely taking off in the midst of 
his many labours. His courage, independence, toleration and 
generosity were as conspicuous as his manifest Christian spirit and 
sturdy devotion to the faith of his fathers. Such a man can ill be 
spared and I must be but one amongst very many in England and 
America who mourn the loss of a great Englishman to whom his 
counsel and friendship were truly precious." 

" We have all suffered a great loss," wrote Professor Norman Sykes 
of Cambridge, "both as friends and as students of church history; 
and his place will be hard to fill in our professional field and impossible 
to fill as a friend." 

What follows is taken from the tribute paid by the Rev. R. G. Martin 
at the Annual Meeting of the Society. Mr. Martin s association with 
Dr. Peel in the pastorate at Clapton Park as well as in the work of the 
Society adds weight to his words. 

" First and last Peel was a Congregational minister with a cure of 
souls; he knew it and was more proud of it than of anything else, 
though he was never satisfied that he was tackling his work as a minister 
in the best and most effective way. He was possessed of an extra 
ordinary love of people. People mattered and there was no trouble 
to which he would not go for people. He was never too busy to see 
people and to care for them. 

Peel s love of people arose directly out of his love for God, and as 
pastor of the churches at Great Harwood and Clapton Park he derived 
his inspiration and power from the One who is Pastor Pastorum. He 
was not famous for his obvious piety, but it was there. I don t think 
I ever heard Peel begin a public prayer without the two words of 
address, Father and Friend. It was as his Father and Friend that 
he knew, loved and served God." 



A study in Personal Religion and 
Public Action. 

A factor within seventeenth century religion which historians 
have almost entirely neglected because it has almost entirely 
disappeared from our own religious consciousness is the 
conception of Eternal Judgment Heaven and Hell. As Dr. G. M. 
Trevelyan has written, " In England before the Restoration it would 
have been difficult to find more than a handful of men who openly 
avowed a disbelief in the miraculous sanctions of the Christian faith, 
in one or other of its forms," 1 and the fact of eternal judgment, with 
everlasting bliss for the Elect and everlasting torment for the rest, 
was an integral part of the Christian faith as it was accepted by Cromwell 
and his contemporaries. It was as effective for Anglican as for 
Separatist, and for Catholic as for Protestant, and if Arminians, 
Calvinists, and Catholics differed about the how and the * who of 
salvation, they were all agreed upon the fact of Heaven and Hell, the 
absolute blessedness of the blessed and the utter misery of the damned. 

Aldous Huxley has described what I mean. In his book Grey 
Eminence he has written an imaginative account of the life of the 
Capuchin friar, Pere Joseph, who became Cardinal Richelieu s right- 
hand man in the diplomatic intrigues of France. He describes how 
on one occasion, Pere Joseph, who was nicknamed Ezekiely for his 
likeness to the prophet, used the fear of hell fire to prevent Marie de 
Medicis from sacking the town of Angers, and the author has added 
this illuminating comment : 

The doctrine of hell fire was not entirely mischievous in its 
effects. On an occasion like the present, for example, it could do 
excellent service. A stupid, obstinate, heartless creature like 
Marie de Medicis, would have been deaf to any appeal to the 
higher feelings that she did not possess . . . But the queen cared 
intensely for herself, and she believed without doubt in the physical 
reality of hell. Thunderously harping on that portentous theme 
Ezekiely was able to put the fear of God into her ... If Marie de 
Medicis had enjoyed the advantages of a modern education, 
Father Joseph would have thundered in vain, and Angers would 
have been sacked. 2 

1 English Social History, (1944), 232. 
a Op. cit., 122f. 



Nothing illustrates better the difference between our own day and 
the time in which Cromwell lived than this universally held belief 
in eternal judgment, which dominated religious thought, and which 
therefore to some extent conditioned the conduct of our forefathers, 
for they believed that " it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the 
living God." It must affect our interpretation of Cromwell, for if 
Cromwell was converted and shows evidence of acting in a manner 
consistent with his religious beliefs after his conversion, we have to 
ask ourselves whether he would have risked damnation for the sake 
of ambition ? Misguided he may have been, or even self-deluded, but 
the charge of fundamental hypocrisy is one which cannot be lightly 
thrown at the Puritans in view of their professed beliefs on Eternal 


There does not seem to be any doubt about the fact of Cromwell s 
conversion, although if we bear in mind the sober Puritanism of his 
home it is at least arguable that his religious experience developed 
gradually rather than by way of any sudden change. The story of a 
sudden conversion may be no more than the attempts of royalist 
detractors to explain the transition from the early debauchee they 
depict to the religious enthusiast Cromwell is known to have become. 
Sir William Dugdale, for example, says that Cromwell went to 
Cambridge, " but then and afterwards sorting himself with Drinking- 
Companions, and the ruder sort of people (being of a rough and 
blustering disposition) he had the name of a Royster amongst those 
that knew him . . . " James Heath, not to be outdone, adds that 
while at Sidney Sussex College Cromwell " was more Famous for his 
Exercises in the Fields than in the Schools, (in which he never had the 
honour of, because no worth and merit to a degree) 2 being one of the 
chief Matchmakers and Players at Foot-ball, Cudgels, or any other 
boysterous sport or game." 1 

The fact that a young undergraduate, not yet seventeen years of age, 
preferred sport to books would hardly be regarded as remarkable in 
later times, but it appears that in the seventeenth century university 
" organised games and athletics did not exist, and sports were either 
discouraged or forbidden." 4 This meant that the natural energies of 
youth could find no proper outlet without contravening the rules and 
coming into conflict with the authorities. 

1 A Short View of the Late Troubles in England (Oxford, 1681), 459. 

3 Even Heath s prejudice excels itself here in suggesting that there was anything detrimental 
in the fact that Cromwell went down from Cambridge after only one year at the University. 
Although it was common practice for the gentry of that time to go down without taking a 
degree, Cromwell left Cambridge upon the sudden death of his father. 

3 Flagellum : Or the Life and Death, Birth and Burial of Oliver Cromwell The Late Usurper 
(3rd edn., 1663), 7f. 

4 Trevelyan, English Social History, 184. 


After one year at Cambridge, Cromwell left the university upon the 
death of his father, and there is a strong tradition that he spent some 
time studying law at one of the Inns of Court, but about this period 
of Oliver s life not even the persistent traducer James Heath could 
discover anything which could be turned against his subject s character. 
The worst he can suggest is that the nature of the place and study so 
affected Cromwell that he 

so spent his time in inward spite, which for that space superceded 
the enormous extravagency of his former vitiousnesse ... So 
that few of his Feats were practisced here, and it is some kind of 
good luck for that honourable Society that he hath left so small 
and so Innocent a Memorial of his Membership therein. 1 
Perhaps Cromwell s good behaviour in London was partly to be 
explained by the fact that he was busy wooing Elizabeth, the daughter 
of Sir James Bourchier, and he married her at the early age of twenty- 
one. How he managed to persuade this young lady and her father 
to agree to the marriage if his early character was as black as James 
Heath and his colleagues have painted it, they have not attempted 
to explain. As for his married life, the Roman Catholic writer, Hilaire 
Belloc, has said, " there never was a vibrant man of eminent public 
activity so simply devoted to his home and so certainly satisfied with 
his marriage. He gave an example of what is meant, in any sane and 
just definition, by the word chastity." 2 

Upon examination, however, it will be found that the reasons for 
accepting the evidence of a more sudden conversion in Cromwell s 
life are too weighty to be ignored. James Heath is obviously puzzled 
by the change, and his attempts to explain it away as an extremely 
subtle piece of financial duplicity are not very convincing. 3 Sir Philip 
Warwick, whose account is somewhat coloured by the earlier writings 
of Heath and Dugdale, is a more reliable contemporary witness, and 
he said of Oliver : 

The first years of his life were spent in a dissolute course of 
life, in good fellowship and gaming, which afterward he seemed 
very sensible of and sorrowful for; and as if it had bin a good 
spirit, that had guided him therein, he used a good method upon 
his conversion; for he declared, he was ready to make restitution 
unto any man, who could accuse him, or whom he could accuse 
himselfe to have wronged : (to his honour I speak this) . . . 4 
Oliver seems to have acted up to this principle, for even James Heath 
placed on record : 

He has grown (that is pretended to be) so just, and of so 

1 Flagellum, 9. 
a Cromwell, 55. 

* Flagellum, 12f. 

* Memoires of the reigne of King Charles 1, (1701), 249f. 


scrupulous a Conscience, that having some years before won 30 

pounds of one Mr. Calton at play, meeting him accidentally, 

desired him to come home with him and to receive his money, 

telling him that he had got it by indirect and unlawful means, 

and that it would be a sin to him to detain it any longer, and did 

really pay the Gentleman the said thirty pounds back again. 1 

We know that during these years Cromwell was considerably 

straightened financially, and I am predisposed to think that a change 

of heart demonstrated in such a practical manner gives some indication 

of being genuine. 

But the evidence for a complete religious conversion in the life of 
Oliver Cromwell is supported by a comparison of two of his letters. 
His earliest letter extant was written from Huntingdon on 14 October 
1626, to ask Mr. Henry Downhall of St. John s College, Cambridge, 
to be godfather at the baptism of Oliver s son, Richard. 2 The letter 
is courteous, but the style is straightforward and businesslike and 
utterly devoid of obvious piety or Scriptural quotation. Although it 
is far removed from the barbarity of style which the royalist accounts 
of Cromwell would lead us to expect, it is completely different from 
the style of letters he wrote later. 3 Compare, for example, the letter 
to Downhall 2 with the letter Cromwell wrote on 13 October 1638, to 
his cousin, the wife of Oliver St. John : 

To honour my God by declaring what he hath done for my 
soul, in this I am confident, and will be so. Truly, then, this I 
find : That He giveth springs in a dry and barren wilderness 
where no water is. I live (you know where) in Meshek, which 
they say signifies Prolonging ; in Kedar, which signifieth Blackness: 
yet the Lord forsaketh me not. Though He do prolong, yet He 
will (I trust) bring me to His tabernacle, to His resting-place. 
My soul is with the congregation of the firstborn, my body rests 
in hope, and if here I may honour my God either by doing or 
by suffering, I shall be most glad. 4 

1 Flagellum, 15f.; Cf. The Perfect Politician (1660), by Henry Fletcher. 

The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, ed. W. C. Abbott (4 vols., Camb., U.S.A., 
1937-47), i. 50f.; Thos. Carlyle s Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, ed. S. C. 
Lomas (3 vols., 1904), iii. 221. 
" Loving Sir, 

Make me so much your servant by being Godfather to my child. I would myself 
have come over to have made a more formal invitation, but my occasions would not 
permit me? and therefore hold me in that excused. The day of your trouble is Thursday 
next. Let me entreat your company on Wednesday. 

By this time it appears, I am more apt to encroach upon you for new favours 
than to show my thankfulness for the love I have already found. But I know your 
patience and your goodness cannot be exhausted by, 

Your friend and servant, 

Oliver Cromwell." 

" It is impossible to believe that the man who on such an occasion could write to a valued 
friend without one word of gratitude for divine favours, or any reference to his growing 
responsibilities in life, could have been already so full of religious fervour as his later 
letters show him to have become." J. Allanson Picton, Oliver Cromwell: the Man and 
his Mission (1883), 47. 

4 Writings and Speeches, i.96f. ; Lomas-Carlyle, i.89f. (Letter II). 


This letter contains at least a dozen direct quotations or allusions to 
Scripture in either the Authorized or Genevan Versions, and it is 
clearly the letter of a man who has been through an unforgettable 
religious experience. Something had happened between the years 
1626 and 1638 which had made Oliver Cromwell a changed man : 
" You know what my manner of life hath been. Oh, I had lived in 
and loved darkness, and hated the light. I was a chief, the chief of 
sinners." These self-recriminations, as John Morley pointed out, 1 
are perhaps not to be taken too literally, for St. Paul had spoken of 
himself in similar terms, 2 but the letter shows that Cromwell was 
living his life in the spirit of St. Paul s Christianity, and that change 
could only be brought about by an experience similar to that of the 
Damascus road. 

The fact that Cromwell was converted in this way, however, has 
an importance for us beyond the interest we have in his personal 
religion, for by his conversion Cromwell at once entered into the 
legacy left by John Calvin in the doctrines of Election and Pre 
destination. Mr. Hilaire Belloc is undoubtedly right when he says, 
" No Calvin, No Cromwell. You shall not comprehend the mind of 
Cromwell, nor any of the innumerable minds who have known them 
selves from that day till yesterday, to be the Elect of God, until you 
have felt the fierce blast from that furnace which Jean Cauvin of Noyon 
in Picardy kindled." 3 Some such experience as St. Paul, St. Augustine, 
and Oliver Cromwell went through seems to be implicit in the religion 
of Calvin s Institutes, for in the face of the depravity of man occasioned 
by the sin of Adam it emphasized that it was only by the Grace of God 
alone that a man could be saved. 4 The choice by God of one man 
for another man for damnation might seem to be arbitrary, but it was 
not a matter for argument, for it had been predetermined by God 
Himself : the Elect were chosen not by reason of any natural merit, 
but solely by the Grace of God. It can be seen that once a man had 
grasped the full assurance of God s salvation for him, he would have a 
tremendous sense of gratitude and of his own irreparable debt to God. 
We might apply to Cromwell the words with which Lord Macaulay 
has described the typical Puritan of the period : 

Events which short-sighted politicians ascribed to earthly 
causes, had been ordained on his account. For his sake empires 
had risen, and flourished, and decayed. For his sake the Almighty 
had proclaimed his will by the pen of the Evangelist, and the 
harp of the prophet. He had been wrested by no common 

1 Oliver Cromwell, 14f. 
a / Tim. i. 15. 
3 Cromwell, 35f. 
* Il.iii. 6. 


deliverer from the grasp of no common foe. He had been ran 
somed by the sweat of no vulgar agony, by the blood of no earthly 
sacrifice. It was for him that the sun had been darkened, that 
the rocks had been rent, that the dead had risen, that all nature 
had shuddered at the sufferings of her expiring God. 1 
This was the kind of inheritance which Cromwell received by his 
conversion, and this Calvinism or Paulinism is for our purpose 
the most important factor in Cromwell s personal religion, for it leads 
directly from the assurance of the call to Election to the realization 
of a call to political vocation. God had chosen him, Oliver Cromwell, 
for salvation; henceforth, however unworthy, he was the * chosen 
vessel of the Lord : " and if here I may honour my God either by 
doing or by suffering, I shall be most glad." 


This introduces another theological factor which we must put back 
into its seventeenth century setting the interpretation of the doctrine 
of Providence which related material success to divine favour. 
Although this conception of Providence seems to follow naturally 
from the Calvinistic idea of Election, it was no more a distinctive 
belief for the Puritans than it was for Anglicans or Catholics. Richelieu 
regarded the supremacy of France as the evidence of God s favour, 
just as Catholics generally might rejoice in the victories of Wallensrein, 
or Anglicans in the success of Rupert s cavalry. There is an interesting 
correspondence in 1646 between Sir Thomas Fairfax and Sir Ralph 
Hopton, which shows that the Anglican Royalist shared an identical 
conception of Providence with that held by his Puritan counterpart. 
Hopton was holding out in the Cornish peninsula and his was the 
only royalist force of any size left in the field. Fairfax warned him 
that if he continued to resist, he would have to bring the full force of 
the New Model Army against him. He continued : 

And having discharged (as I conceive) the duty of an honest 
man, a soldier and a Christian, if God shall see fit to let your 
hearts be hardened against your own peace, I shall (though 
with some regret for that ill which shall ensue to any, yet with 
cheerfulnesse and rejoicing in the righteous judgment of God) 
pursue my charge and trust for the publick in another way, 
not doubting of the same presence and blessing which God hath 
hitherto vouchsafed in the same cause to the weak endeavours of 


In his reply, although Hopton was not so ready to admit that the 
victories of the Roundheads were altogether a sign of God Almighty s 

1 Essay on Milton (Oxford Plain Texts), 49. 

3 Joshua Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva (1647), 165-7. 


favour, it can be seen that his conception of Providence was essentially 
the same as that of Fairfax, and his letter reflects the anxiety of the 
pious Royalist at the direction taken by events : 

God hath indeed of late humbled us with many ill successes, 
which we acknowledge as a very certain evidence of his just 
judgements against us for our personall crimes : Yet give me 
leave to say, your present prosperity cannot be so certaine an 
evidence of his being altogether pleased with you. It is true, we 
are reduced to a lower condition than we have been in, yet we 
have a gallant body of Horse, that being preserved to a generall 
accord, may be for good use against our common Enemies; and 
being otherwise prest, I may say it without vanity, want not a 
resolution, at least, to sell ourselves at a deare rate against any 
oddes. 1 

It was difficult to reconcile the support of Providence for the rights of 
the one for whom they fought with the complete rout of the cavalier 
armies. Indeed, this may in part explain the rapid collapse of cavalier 
resistance after the battle of Langport, for the irreligion of the royalist 
troops was an obvious blot upon the righteousness of the King s cause, 
and many of Charles followers may have given up the struggle lest 
haply they be found to fight against God. Hop ton himself, for all 
his brave words, capitulated upon terms without a fight. 

One could show by extensive quotations from both royalist and 
parliamentary writers how universally the interpretation of Providence 
in terms of personal success or failure was accepted, but the importance 
of this doctrine can be seen when one realizes that it was part of the 
very atmosphere in which the victories of Cromwell and his troops 
were set, and it can be shown to have had a very significant influence 
upon the development within them of a sense of political vocation. 
Rightly or wrongly they came to see their part in the future government 
of the nation not as something from which they, as Separatists, must 
flee, but as something which Providence had put into their hands 
as a sacred trust a mission to which they were ordained. Richard 
Baxter, who visited the New Model Army just after the decisive 
battle of Naseby in 1645, and who served for a time as a chaplain, 
observed : 

I perceived that they took the king for a Tyrant and an Enemy, 
and really intended absolutely to master him, or to ruine him . . . 
They said, What are the Lords of England but William the 
Conquerors Colonels ? or the Barons but his Majors ? or the 
Knights but his Captains ? They plainly shewed me that they 
thought God s Providence would cast the trust of Religion and 
the Kingdom upon them as Conquerors. 2 

1 Ibid., 210. 

a Reliquiae Baxterianae (ed. Matthew Sylvester, 1696), i. 51. 


Now let us relate this doctrine more specifically to the career of 
Cromwell. In 1597 a Huntingdon schoolmaster, the Rev. Thomas 
Beard, compiled a book entitled The Theatre of God s Judgements. 
From its title page it purported to be a collection of histories from both 
secular and sacred authors " concerning the admirable judgements of 
God upon the transgressors of his commandments." In other words, 
it developed the thesis of God s immediate concern in the events of 
history by granting rewards and punishments to His servants and 
His enemies " euen in this life." This divine justice of Providence, 
wrote Dr. Beard, should demonstrate its power " chiefly towardes 
them which are in the highest places of account, who being more 
hardned and bold to sinne, do as boldly exempt themselues from all 
correction and punishments due vnto them." Certain passages of 
this book had very pointed reference to the constitutional and religious 
struggle which was dragged out during the reigns of James I and his 
son, an example of which is to be found in Beard s comments upon the 
constitutional limitations set upon the power of the Pharaohs, " for," 
he said, " they had not so much authentic as to iudge betwixt man 
and man or to levy subsidies and the such like by their owne power : 
neither to punish any man through choler, or any ouerpowering 
conceit, but were tied to obserue iustice and equitie in all causes." 2 
In this very pertinent way Dr. Beard related the doctrine of Providence 
to evidence in this life of divine favour or retribution, and the popularity 
of his thesis may be judged by the fact that within the first half of the 
seventeenth century his book went into four editions. 

This, however, is but one aspect of the doctrine of Providence, for 
the Puritan held that God w r as not only transcendent over the events 
of nations and history, but he was also active and immanent in the 
intimacies of individual experience. This aspect of the doctrine can 
be amply demonstrated by the introspection of Dr. Samuel Ward, 
third Master of Sidney Sussex College, and later (1623) Lady Margaret 
Professor of Divinity in Cambridge. 3 Ever since he had entered the 
University as a student at Christ s College Samuel Ward had kept a 
diary in which he set down all the ways in which he felt God had 
personally intervened in his daily life, and which also included a 
somewhat morbid catalogue of all the things in his singularly blameless 
existence which might be counted as sins. For example, on 16 Sept 
ember 1595, he confessed his greediness (* crapula ) "in eating peares 
in the morning, and other things which might have diminished my 
health. As also my much gluttony at dinner tyme. My unfitness to 
do anything after dinner . . . " 4 To Samuel Ward every single incident 

1 op. tit., 7. 

a Ibid., 10. 

3 He was a Calvinist representative at the Synod of Dort, 1619. 

* Ward s Diary in Two Elizabethan Puritan Diaries (Chicago, 1933), edited by M. M. 
Knappen, p. 111. 


of his life was evidence of God s immediate Providence, " nothing 
appeared too trivial to form an indictment against himself, nothing in 
the course of events so ordinary as not to furnish a theme for wonder, 
or to constitute a mystery." 1 

The extent of Dr. Beard s writings and the extent of Dr. Samuel 
Ward s influence would be important enough in themselves, but 
Beard and Ward have an altogether deeper significance when we 
realise that the author of The Theatre of God s Judgements was Oliver 
Cromwell s schoolmaster and an intimate friend of the family for 
about thirty years of Cromwell s life, while Samuel Ward was Master 
of the compact little college in which Cromwell spent a year at the 
impressionable age of sixteen. I suggest therefore that this conception 
of Providence is as much a fact to be taken into account in our inter 
pretation of Cromwell as any of the social, military, or economic 
factors upon which the majority of historians base their conclusions 
regarding the seventeenth century, for here was a formative idea with 
which the future Lord Protector had grown up, and which at every 
point of his successful career must push him forward to a belief in 
his own divinely-appointed mission. The simple facts of Cromwell s 
life are the best illustration of this. He had his first taste of soldiering 
when war broke out in 1642 at the age of forty-three, and he became 
a simple captain in a cavalry regiment, but by March 1643 his single 
troop had grown to five troops, and in a relatively short time it was a 
double regiment. Early in 1643 he became a colonel, and in the early 
months of the following year he was appointed Lieutenant-General 
and Second-in-Command of the Army of the Eastern Association, 
under the Earl of Manchester; in 1645, despite the provisions of the 
Self-Denying Ordinance, he was appointed Second-in-Command of 
the New Model Army under Sir Thomas Fairfax, and thus of the 
land forces of the Commonwealth; in 1649 he was appointed Lord 
Lieutenant and Commander-in-Chief of the Army in Ireland, and 
in the following year he commanded the English Army in Scotland, 
succeeding Fairfax as Captain-General of the forces of the Common 
wealth. This career is the more remarkable because it was that of a 
man who had had no military experience before the Civil War and 
who had entered the army in middle life, and also because it was 
characterized not only by some truly remarkable victories, but also 
by the fact that during nine years of active warfare he and his troops 
never suffered a single defeat in the field. These facts are recorded 
not, as some might suppose, simply in order to praise a chosen hero, 
but because seen in relationship to the seventeenth-century inter 
pretation of the doctrine of Providence they must have been of very 
great theological importance to Cromwell, as indeed for others who 

i J. Bass Mullinger, History of Cambridge Univerti y H vols., 1873-191 1), ii. 491. 


shared the doctrine. It is reflected in the words of John Milton, who, 
having recounted the dismal line of unsuccessful experiments which 
in 1653 seemed to be bringing the nation to anarchy, burst out, " Into 
this state of desolation, to which we were reduced, you, O Cromwell ! 
alone remained to conduct the government and save the country." 

There is no real evidence to show that Cromwell accepted any view 
of a divine right to govern until after the battle of Worcester, 3 September, 
1651, but having once accepted the responsibility for government 
as a task set him by God, nothing could deflect him from carrying it 
through to the end. Hence, in 1654, having to meet obstructions from 
both republicans and reactionaries in one of his Parliaments, he 
declared : 

I called not myself to this place. I say again, I called not myself 
to this place : of that God is witness. And I have many witnesses 
who, I do believe, could readily lay down their lives to bear 
witness to the truth of that, that is to say, that I called not myself 
to this place. And being in it, I bear not witness to myself; but 
God and the people of these nations have born testimony to it also. 
If my calling be from God, and my testimony from the people, 
God and the people shall take it from me, else I will not part 
with it. I should be false to the trust that God hath placed upon 
me, and to the interest of the people of these nations, if I should." 1 
If we see the facts of Cromwell s career in the light of this contem 
porary doctrine of Providence we begin to gain a new insight into the 
interpretation of such passages as this. They are certainly not to be 
dismissed as hypocritical piety used to cloak his personal ambition. 
In the view he took of his own political vocation Cromwell may have 
been self-deluded, he may on occasions have been guilty of faulty 
exegesis, but he was no hypocrite; the position which he and his 
associates took within the nation had far more in common with the 
Old Testament prophet, who went to the nation uttering the divine 
imperative " Thus saith the Lord ..." than with the recent exponents 
of absolute government. Those who regard Cromwell as the fore 
runner of modern dictatorship forget that the Lord Protector constantly 
brought himself and his government under the judgment of the Word 
of God in Scripture, and under the discipline of listening to those 
who like himself professed to be guided by the same Spirit of Jesus 
Christ. Some of the highly critical words which men like John 
Lilburne, Edward Sexby, and George Fox addressed to Cromwell 
would not be tolerated by some of our present Cabinet, far less by 
any dictator. Cromwell not only listened to such criticism, but he 
also on occasion amended his policy to meet it. 

1 Defensio Secunda, in Selected Prose of John Milton (Oxford, World s Classics), 396. 
a 12 September, 1654; Writings and Speeches, iii. 451-62; Lomas-Carlyle, ii. 366-90 
(Speech III). 



The fact that Cromwell did listen to criticism of his policy, often 
voiced by those who had served under him, is related in rather a 
curious way to the question of his churchmanship. 

It appears from the writings of Robert Baillie and others that quite 
early in the Civil War Cromwell had become known as an Independent, 
and yet no historian has yet produced any evidence of his ever having 
belonged to a gathered church. To anyone conversant with the 
forms of seventeenth Independency this must be a serious argument 
against the * sincerity of Cromwell s religion, since from its earliest 
days Independency has emphasized the high responsibility of member 
ship of the Body of Christ : " The Church planted or gathered," 
wrote Robert Browne, " is a company or number of Christians or 
believers, which, by a willing covenant made with their God, are 
under the government of God and Christ and keep his laws in one 
holy communion." 1 

In the Spring of 1641 we find Cromwell enquiring about the reasons 
why the Scots wished to enforce Presbyterian uniformity as a condition 
of their alliance with Parliament, 2 but there is no evidence that he had 
formally severed his connection with the Established Church, although 
it appears that he had been for some time a radical in matters of 
religion. It is well known that with a view to strengthening the quality 
of the parliamentary cavalry he recruited his troopers from the 
Separatist congregations of the eastern counties after the battle of 
Edgehill in 1642. To those who had criticized his choice of men he 
had replied " I had rather have a plain russet-coated captain that 
knows what he fights for, and loves what he know r s, than that which 
you call a gentleman and is nothing else. I honour the gentleman 
that is so indeed." 3 So as Puritanism was the centre of the Rebellion 
against the Stuarts arbitrary power, the Army became the heart of 
Puritanism, and Independency became the pulse of the Army. But 
the fact that Cromwell was sympathetic to Independency, or that 
he chose Independents to be the fighting nucleus of his troops, or 
that he had a leaning towards certain Independent doctrines, does 
not justify our calling him an Independent : there is a considerable 
difference between patronage of Independency and actual membership 
of an Independent church. 

It is at this point that we must mention Richard Baxter s description 
of a curious but important incident which occurred early in 1643 
while Cromwell was gathering his original troops of * Ironsides, the 
significance of which appears to have been missed by Cromwell s 

1 Booke which sheroeth the life and manners of all true Christians (Middelburg, 1582). 
a February, 1640/1 ; Writings and Speeches i.125; Lomas-Carlyle i.96 (Letter III.). 
3 Letter to Suffolk Commissioners, 29 August, 1643 ; Writings and Speeches, i. 256 ; Lomas- 
Carlyle, i. 154 (Letter XVI). 


biographers. Baxter in writing of the events which led up to the Self- 

Denying Ordinance in 1644, said that Cromwell " had gathered 

together as many of the Religious Party, especially of the Sectaries as 

he could get," and going on to comment upon this policy he continued : 

I reprehended my self also, who had before rejected an Invitation 

from Cromwell : When he lay at Cambridge long before with 

that famous Troop which he began his Army with, his officers 

purposed to make their Troop a gathered Church, and they all 

subscribed an Invitation to me to be their Pastor, and sent it 

to me to Coventry : I sent them a Denial, reproving their Attempt, 

and told them wherein my Judgment was against the Lawfulness 

and Convenience of their way, and so I heard no more from them : 

And afterward meeting Cromwell at Leicester he expostulated 

with me for denying them. These very men that then invited 

me to be their Pastor, were the Men that afterwards headed 

much of the Army, and some of them were the forwardest in 

all our Changes; which made me wish that I had gone among 

them, however it had been interpreted; for then all the fire was 

in one spark. 1 

This evidence from Richard Baxter, who was a Puritan with leanings 
probably towards a moderate form of episcopacy, 2 is obviously very 
important, since it indicates not only that Cromwell fully embraced 
the Independents doctrine of the Church, but that he did so sufficiently 
for him and his associates to attempt the curious task of forming a 
Congregational church out of a troop of cavalry ! Surely a militant 
congregation if ever there was one. This is explicitly stated by 
Matthew Sylvester, the editor of Baxter s autobiography, who in the 
index reference to this incident which appears under Cromwell s 
name, says, " he [i.e. Cromwell] invites Mr. Baxter to be Chaplain 
and Pastour to his Regiment when he was forming it into a Church." 1 
In other words, I suggest that the formation of the Ironsides came 
to have a religious and ecclesiastical significance to Oliver Cromwell, 
since he and his troops were bound together not merely into an 
efficient fighting machine, but into a kind of church and by the one 
form of churchmanship which could embrace on grounds of equality 
all shades of Puritanism, viz., Congregationalism. 

If this was so then it throws new light on certain aspects of Cromwell s 
career. It explains why Cromwell s name is not to be found on the 
roll of any local church, and it explains the religious character of the 
meetings of the Council of Officers and of the General Council of 
the Army. There is no clear evidence to show whether the church 

1 Reliquiae Baxterianae, i. 51. 

it in Puritan Faith and Exi. ._,,__. _. _ . , 

Quarterly Examiner, 1945), If., 13. 

a G. F. Nuttall, The Holy Spirit in Puritan Faith and Experience (1946), 10; G. F. Nuttall, 
The Personality of Richard Baxter (reprint from Friends Qi 

3 Op. cit. ad he. 


character of Cromwell s troop was shared by both officers and men, 
but it does appear as if its form was extended in some measure to the 
General Council of the Army in which the Agitators took part. 
The whole tenor of the debates recprded in the Clarke Papers,* 
starting with prayer and exposition of Scripture and then passing on 
to full discussion in which every member had free and equal right to 
express his opinion according to the mind of Christ, has its nearest 
parallel in a Congregational church meeting. The debates themselves, 
while dealing in the main with the constitutional settlement of the 
country and the Army s policy, were conducted almost wholly upon 
the theological level, and far from the representatives of the troopers 
seeming to be in any way nonplussed by the presence of their superior 
officers, they appear to have assumed a freedom of expression which 
argues that the unity between officers and men went a good deal 
deeper than a simple military relationship. 2 Furthermore, although 
the anxiety of Cromwell and Ireton to secure unanimity of decision 
was obviously good practical politics, it is difficult to dismiss it as 
merely a matter of military expediency. Cromwell professed he 
would say nothing in debate but that which would tend to unite them 
in a common policy and in pursuit of that which " God will manifest 
to us to be the thing that he would have us prosecute," and he added 
that " he that meets not here with that heart and dares not say he will 
stand to that, I think he is a deceiver." It should be pointed out 
that on that particular occasion it was Cromwell and Ireton who 
eventually gave way. 4 

So we suggest that the Clarke Papers, no less than Richard Baxter, 
are witnesses to the fact that Cromwell owned Congregational church- 
manship and accepted its discipline. The Independent Army debated, 

Edited by C. H. Firth, 1891-1901. 

3 In opening the case for the Agitators during the debate on October 28th, 1647, Edward 
Sexby frankly told Cromwell and Ireton that in trying to come to terms with Charles and 
by upholding the authority of the discredited Parliament, " Your credits and reputations 
have been much blasted, upon these two considerations." He went on to say, You are 
convinced that God would have you to act on. But only consider how you shall act, and 
[take] those [ways] that will secure you and the whole kingdom." (A. S. P. Woodhouse, 
Puritanism and Liberty (1938), 2.). This is no isolated example. The speeches of the 
Agitators and of men like Lt. Col. Goffe assume a freedom of utterance which appears 
to have been fully accepted by Cromwell and Ireton, and which pre-supposes the right 
of any member of the Council to prophesy," i.e., to bring the policy of the army and 
its leaders under the judgment of the Word of God in Scripture. 

A Puritanism and Liberty, 8. 

4 With Charles flight to Carisbrooke and the discovery of indisputable proof that he was 
intriguing with the Scots to renew civil war, the higher officers admitted that they had 
been wrong and agreed to break with the king. Sir John Berkeley, the king s extremely 
well-informed agent, gives an amusing but illuminating account of Cromwell s confession 
to the Council from a member of that Council who was secretly a royalist : 

" He [Cromwell] acknowledg d (as he formerly had done upon the like occasion) that the 
Glories of the World had so dazzled his eyes, that he could not discern clearly the great 
Works the Lord was doing; that he was resolved to humble himself, and to desire the 
Prayers of the Saints, that God would be pleased to forgive him his Self-seeking. These 
Arts . . . perfected his Reconcilation, and he was reinstated in the Fellowship of the 
Faithful." Sir John Berkeley, Memoirs (1699) 74f. 


as Sir Ernest Barker has observed, " because it was a congregation 
as well as an army," 1 and the evidence seems to show that as far as 
Cromwell s original regiment was concerned this was true in a far 
more concrete and literal sense than we have previously appreciated. 
The importance of this in future estimates of Cromwell must not be 
overlooked, for it helps to explain incidents in Cromwell s life which 
are otherwise unexplainable, more particularly the deference he paid 
throughout his career to the wishes of the Army, and notably in his 
refusal to assume the throne in 1657. 

I have tried to give a few of the theological principles upon which 
Cromwell s public action was founded. These I believe to be of lasting 
importance, and in understanding them we shall better begin to 
understand ourselves; for Cromwell remains, in the words of Sir 
Ernest Barker, " the incarnation perhaps the greatest we have 
ever had of the genius of English Nonconformity." 2 


1 Oliver Cromwell, 64. 
a Ibid., 28. 

9 * 

Independent Minister, Baglan 
Glamorgan (d.1692) 

ROBERT THOMAS, Baglan, ministered faithfully to the 
spiritual needs of Independents scattered over a large area in 
the County of Glamorgan, between 1662 and 1692. There 
were other prominent preachers but Robert Thomas contented himself 
with serving the Separatists in out-of-the-way places, His ministrations 
proved invaluable and where he planted secret meetings for worship 
strong churches to-day proclaim the fame of the pioneer who was 
content to sow the seed in seasons of distress. The written records of 
the period are few because of the readiness of the informer and 
prosecutor to use such information whenever they could to harass the 

We regret that Robert Thomas has no biography, for his life-work 
and character deserve permanent remembrance. We offer this paper, 
the result of diligent research, hoping that sooner or later other 
important facts may be discovered to illustrate the dedicated life of 
the great and noble man. Two hundred and fifty-eight years have 
elapsed since his death and yet the principles he cherished are active 
and more important than ever. 

Independence seemed racy of the soil, and the parish of Baglan 
despite the advent of the Norman preserved its ancient characteristics. 
The winning of Glamorgan by the Normans did not prevent their 
granting the sons of Prince lestin ap Gwrgr the possession of the 
land between the rivers Afan and Neath. Therefore although a 
foreign tongue was introduced to the sea coast the native Welsh 
continued to be used in the parish of Baglan, and the neighbouring 
parishes. The name of the hundred to which Baglan belonged was 
Gor-fynydd and the name survives in a slightly corrupt ecclesiastical 
form as Gro-Neath. [Deanery of Gro-Nedd], 

Significant features of the region where Robert Thomas lived may 
be observed, for he inherited much of the strength and beauty of his 
environment. Upon the hills close by are the remains of an older 
civilization and the names are suggestive : Buarth-y-Gaer, Mynydd- 
y-Gaer, Moel Fynydd, Cefn Morfudd and Mynydd-y-Ddinas. If 
we turn our back to the hills we behold a strip of marsh land and the 
lovely Swansea Bay. Baglan is sheltered from the north wind and 



there was certain providence in the ordering that the planter of 
Independent churches should be raised there, where the infant causes 
could be nurtured in secret conventicles behind the hills. The parish 
contained 3,000 acres and its divisions are Baglan Higher and Lower. 

Robert Thomas was the eldest son of William and Mary Thomas, 
Baglan. His mother was the daughter of George Williams, Esquire 
of Blaen Baglan, a near relative of Williams Aber Pergwm, Vale of 
Neath. Blaen Baglan and Aber Pergwm did their part to maintain 
the old Welsh life and customs. The motto of the family was " Whoso 
suffered conquered," (" A ddioddefodd a orfu," or " a ddioddefws 
a nillws "). 

George Williams died in 1600 and according to the testimony of 
the bard and genealogist, Lewis Dwnn, he supported religion, education 
and his country. Williams was a representative steward of the Earl 
of Pembroke in the Vale of Neath. Robert Thomas, his grandson, 
visited regularly as Independent minister localities where his fore 
fathers had once owned much land. (Blaengwrach and Vale of Neath). 
Robert Thomas had three brothers, Richard, William and Arnold, and 
three sisters, Cecil, Gladys and Mary. Robert was educated at Jesus 
College, Oxford, which he entered in 1658. Four years later when 
the Act of Uniformity came into operation he decided to cast his 
lot with the Separatists. Calamy entered his name as the Vicar of 
Baglan in 1662. He ministered without fee to the church he loved. 
After the ejection of the clergy who refused to comply with the Act 
of 1662 Robert Thomas and his friends Jacob Christopher of St. 
Maudlans, and Richard Cradock of Newton Nottage, continued to 
preach and teach and refused to be silenced. In April 1665, Sir John 
Aubrey of Llantrithyd, Justice, sent soldiers to seize Jacob Christopher 
and three others for holding a service in the house of Lewis Alward, 
of Kenfig. We know not how long they were kept prisoners but this 
we know that ten years later, in 1675, Jacob Christopher went about 
preaching the Gospel. 

Robert Thomas received a call from the gathered church that met 
at the farmhouse of Cilfwnwr in Llangyfelach parish, Glam., on 
28 March 1666. The record in the church book of Tirdoncyn now 
at the National Library of Wales reads (p. 289) : 

That upon the 28th day of March 1666 four years after the 
ejection of many hundreds of Gospel ministers in England and 
Wales all the Church members scattered up and down in 
Llangev-lach and ye parishes adjacent, joyned and covenanted 
together to choose ye worthy and faithful servant of Christ, 
Mr. Robert Thomas, of the hall in Bagland for their pastor the 
day and year above said. And chose also at the same time Mr. 


Richard Cradock for Teaching Elder and David Jenkin of the 
Fagwyr and John Morgan, Deacons, and met at Kilyfwnwr in 
the said parish. 

In the year 1669 the Conventicle Act was renewed and by the 

request of the Archbishop of Canterbury a list of the conventicles 

throughout the kingdom was prepared. Of Baglan the report reads : 

Meeting : House of Robert Thomas, Number 20, Teacher, 

Robert Thomas. Cata-Baptists, Baptists and Independents. 

On 24 March 1672, Charles II granted an Indulgence to 

Separatists, to license houses for religious services. In the list of 

churches supplied by Henry Maurice in 1625, Baglan has Robert 

Thomas and the meeting held in his own house. Kenfig : meeting 

in the house of Lewis Alward and the preacher Robert Thomas. 

Llanfabon and Gelligaer are also given as places where Robert 

Thomas preached. 

Richard Cradock received a licence for preaching at his own house, 
Newton Nottage. In 1672 Elizabeth Morgan s house at Neath was 
licensed for preaching in the name of Samuel Jones. 

Henry Maurice in his list refers to a church named Cadogstone 
(Cadoxton), which now meets at Baglan. Robert Thomas is the 
minister and Jacob Christopher and Richard Cradock the elder- 
teachers. Independent in judgment: some Baptists. Furthermore 
some live in the district of Llangyfelach also in the neighbourhood 
of Kenfig in the same county. 

The name " Church of Cadoxton " caused some difficulty, 
especially when we are informed that it met at Baglan in the house of 
Robert Thomas. The explanation is simple. In the days of Robert 
Powell, vicar of Cadoxton, Puritanism flourished under his ministry 
and after his death in 1649 the number of saints increased and met in 
various places for worship. In the end they found shelter in the house 
of Robert Thomas. Still they were called Cadoxton Church. At 
first they were Baptists, anti-Baptists and Independents, but ultimately 
they were separated. 

Notable men met for worship in the house of Robert Thomas but 
for certain periods no mention is made of him or the company, though 
they were continually in communion and worship in isolated places. 
In the world but not of it. 

Constant watch was kept by the custodians of the law upon the 
movements of the Separatists and once Robert Thomas and his 
followers in the hundred of Neath were summoned to appear in court 
for not attending the churches of their parishes. The persons named, 
26 in number, lived at long distances from one another (Bishopston 
to Llantwit Major), but they are named because they frequented 


services held at Baglan and Neath. The date of this warrant and the 
names was 4 Aug., 1684. In the following year on 25 July, 1685, 
attempt was made to penalize those men in the district who had an 
active part in the days of Oliver Cromwell and for their loyalty to the 
principles of religious and civil freedom. Religious services were 
held in the homes of several of these men. The Governor of the Castle 
at Chepstow is commanded to discharge the persons in his custody 
forthwith, Bussey Mansell, Esq., and others. 

In the year 1687 (15 April), Robert Thomas informed Edward 
Mansel, J.P., of Margam, that he intended to hold religious services 
at his own residence in the parish of Baglan named Pen-y-Gisla and 
at the house of Mary Thomas, widow, in the parish of Llangyfelach. 
Thus we see that Baglan and Llangyfelach (Cilfwnwr) were churches 
specifically under his care. He lived for five years after this and was 
found faithful in his ministry unto the end. 

Robert Thomas made religion homely and real. Duty was frequently 
upon his lips : by that we mean, " dyletswydd, y ddyletswydd 
deuluaidd." Family prayer was called Duty by him. Not content 
with knowing religious truth himself he seized every opportunity to 
pass on his experience and knowledge to his early Separatists. He 
set before them an example in suffering and taught them why and for 
what they were suffering. What a beautiful custom it was in those 
days for people to commit portions of Scripture to memory and then 
meet at an appointed place to repeat and expound the passages. This 
practice gave rise to a most useful band of workers called repeaters. 
Many of these were gifted reciters of Scripture and sermons. Several 
names occur to us but let one suffice. The Rev. Daniel Griffiths of 
Neath, as a young man, could take an afternoon and evening service 
to repeat in Welsh without faltering the Epistle to the Romans from 
start to finish. 

Robert Thomas witnessed ferocious persecution, hatred and the 
exaction of heavy fines but he maintained his nobility of character. 

" A godly old man : he hath an estate," is the last recorded testimony 
we have of him (1690). 

Like an oak tree he had grown strong by resistance. 

" Godly " " But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is 
Godly for himself." 

" Man " How we qualify the term man : Englishman, Welshman 
rich man, poor man, working man. Here " A godly old man." A 
nobleman. The name invites our description. We must know before 
we can describe. " Hath an estate " : what a prophetic declaration 
That estate still flourishes and we are made partakers of it. The 
estate of human and divine love and goodness. Altars were erected 


to the God of Israel on the hills of Baglan, Neath and Llangyfelach : 
and in the retreats of the hills and valleys the voice of prayer and praise 
arose like a fountain of living water. We have observed that Robert 
Thomas descended from the Lords of Avan and Neath and the 
Christian religion preserves and dignifies the most ancient stock. 
Religion adorns not only the humblest but the highest. It adorned 
the members of his own family. Anthony Thomas, his son and heir, 
of Baglan Hall, supplied Edward Lhwyd with a vivid description of 
Baglan parish for his important work Parochialia. The literary 
tradition was ever prominent in the family, for the family bard had 
flourished there and the family chaplain. He helped to usher in the 
Kingdom without a frontier where man is more precious than pedigree 
and fine gold. Having done his work he entered into rest and his name 
is for ever blessed. 

His successor, the Rev. Lewis Davies, wrote of him : " Mr. Robert 
Thomas, the late goodly pastor of the said congregation who served 
the Church of Christ in the work of the ministry upwards of forty 
years with all diligence and faithfulness until the last and finished his 
course upon the 2nd day of April, 1692." 



" Now concerning the collection ..."(/ Cor. xvi. 1) 

" What, another special collection ? " How familiar to ministers, 
deacons and members in our churches are appeal circulars, pros 
pectuses, calls for special services, retiring collections, subscriptions, 
etc., in the interests of the thousand-and-one " Good Causes " 
commended to the generosity of the Christian community. 

This matter of " Appeals " has always exercised the churches, and 
our own Nonconformist history tells of many attempts to regulate the 
traffic in charity, to authenticate the bona fides of petitioners and the 
worthiness of cases of distress, to prevent abuses, and so forth. 
Recognizing the inevitability that the needy should turn to Christian 
fellowships as centres of sympathy and liberality, most churches have 
their list of " outside objects " at home and abroad to which they 
contribute. How many there are any church intimation book will 
reveal or the wastepaper basket after a deacons meeting or the 
Annual Charities Register and Digest. The demand for increased 
support for alleviative, educational, evangelistic and similar organiza 
tions never ceases, and honest efforts are generally made to respond, 
despite the steadily rising costs of local maintenance heating, lighting, 
repairs, equipment, occasionally stipends and other salaries which 
have to be met week by week. In such circumstances some hesitation 
regarding the publication of appeals is understandable. Ministers, 
moreover, generally feel that it is not their prime duty to use the 
pulpit as a begging-stand, but rather to expound the truths of the 
Christian faith, among which charity has its place, as a fruit rather 
than as a root. Sunday worship ought not to be devoted to charming 
money out of the pockets of the worshippers, though many Special 
Sermons and not a few of the secretarial Notices for the week 
have some such end in view. 

It is not without interest, therefore, to consider the ways of earlier 
generations in the matter of special collections. 

The practice of issuing appeals to the churches was clearly 
established early in the first century, and Paul s collections for the 
saints, in Jerusalem and elsewhere, provide good Scriptural Christian 
precedent, as does the early community-life detailed in the Acts. 
The custom of gathering for the needy through the churches was 
sustained by the Papal Briefs, one of the earliest extant English examples 
of which is that issued, 22 May 1285, by Celestinus V, for the repair of 
the church at Ripon (Surtees, Ixxiv, 116). There were also the Briefs 
issued by archbishops and bishops authorizing collections in the 



churches of their dioceses and provinces, especially for the support of 
hospitals, as e.g., those listed from 1259 onward in the Episcopal 
Registers of Exeter (ed. F. C. Kingston-Randolph). At a later date, 
as by the Act of 22 Henry VIII, c. 12, 1530, justices of peace were 
authorized to issue licences to approved poor, aged and infirm persons 
to beg within certain areas a sanction repealed by Elizabeth, except 
in the cases of maimed soldiers and sailors. 

The issue of Letters Patent under the Great Seal authorizing 
charitable collections was well established by the 17th century, however, 
and thereafter writs or breves issued out of Chancery, occasionally by 
direct order of the Privy Council or Parliament, but generally on 
petition to the Lord Chancellor or the Keeper of the Great Seal. 

The prime ground for such appeals was to give assistance in cases 
of loss by fire, flood, frost, storm (especially hail), or damage arising 
from conditions of war or persecution. Although the necessity for 
such reliance upon charity was reduced by the establishment of mutual 
insurance, the issue of church briefs was legally sustained until 1828, 
when Peel introduced an Act for their abolition. The Great Fire of 
London had focussed attention upon the necessity for a system of 
underwriting losses, and some modest attempts were made by 
individuals and clubs to establish a system of insurance, but the first 
regular Fire Office was not opened at the Royal Exchange until 1681. 
The oldest surviving office of this type, the Hand in Hand, was 
established in 1696. 

The custom of issuing Briefs, to be read in all churches as invitations 
to charitable gifts was generally followed, however, for several hundred 
years, and collections upon them became an established trade, almost 
monopolistic in the 18th century, although admittedly open to abuse 
and fraud, especially by the printing of unauthorized copies, and by 
the * farming of them. A full history of this business, with a list 
of the briefs authorized from 1642 to 1828 inclusive, is given in 
W. A. Bewes, Church Briefs, or Royal Warrants for Collections for 
Charitable Objects, 1896. 

The matter of special interest to us is that these Briefs were issued 
under Letters Patent not alone to the clergy or churchwardens of 
every Anglican parish, but also to Dissenting congregations, including 
the Society of Friends. After the Toleration Act this practice was 
clearly established, although in the 18th and early 19th centuries a 
distinction was drawn between appeals for relief in cases of accidental 
damage (fire, flood, etc.) and the many which were issued on behalf 
of church building and restoration. Bewes shews that from 1805 
onward the customary imprint of an official Brief was 10,800 copies 
of an appeal for church building, and 11,500 for relief of loss, the 


additional copies being sent to the dissenting meeting-houses 
evidently the more influential of them were selected for these additional 
700 copies. 

Many early Nonconformist church records contain notices of the 
receipt of Briefs and of the response elicited from their members. The 
circulation of the Briefs and collection upon them was undertaken by 
firms of specialists, notably by Byrd, Hall and Stevenson, of Stafford, 
by Robert Hodgson of the same town, and by Stevenson, Salt & Co., 
bankers, of Lombard-street. William Salt, the Staffordshire 
antiquarian, a partner in this last firm, accumulated with his historical 
papers a wide selection of the briefs for which his forebears had been 
agents. The Undertakers of the Briefs were authorized to appoint 
collectors to circulate and collect the Briefs throughout the country, 
carried the expenses of negotiating the appeal, including the legal 
costs for the Letters Patent, stamping, printing, circulating, together 
with an obligation to advance money to the sufferers on the credit of 
the Brief at 4% interest. The Undertaker s fee varied from 5d. to Is. 
per Brief issued, irrespective of the sum collected upon it. As the 
Patent charges could total upwards of 70, plus commission/ the 
overall costs made the collection upon small appeals uneconomic, and 
sometimes two or three cases were included in one composite 
Brief which sometimes led to shameful over-estimate of the losses 
involved, as to disproportionately high costs relative to the final sum 
collected. The average number of approved Briefs issued from 1642 
to 1828 seems to have been about twelve per annum. 

In each parish or separate congregation a register was ordered to be 
kept by the minister, in which details of the Brief, date of reading and 
collection, and the amount subscribed, were to be entered, and a receipt 
was to be signed by the Undertaker or his agent on receiving the money. 
Among the records of the Denton Congregational Church, Norfolk, 
is a typical book of this kind, parchment-covered, 5 fin. x7Jin., 
commenced 31 May 1724, continued to 1 April 1804, containing details 
of over 200 Briefs read to the congregation at Denton Meeting and 
of the contributions received (or the lack of response) during the 
ministry of the Rev. Julius Saunders, minister 1725-49, his nephew, 
of the same names, 1750-57, and Thomas Bocking, 1757-1805. 

A comparison with the appendix to Bewes, Church Briefs, which 
lists the Briefs authorized by the Lord Chancellor s department from 
the time of the Commonwealth to the repeal of the Acts in 1828, 
shews the accuracy of the entries, and also supplies a good many dates 
and amounts not listed by Bewes. It also reveals that between the 
dates of the first and last briefs entered in the Denton book for 

1 A similar book is in the archives of Eignbrook Congregational Church, Hereford. 


Wetherby, Yorks., loss by fire, dated " ye tenth day of July in ye 
ninth Year of ye Reign of King George, 7,533 and upwards," and 
" The Brief from Egton Rise, in the County of York " (collection 
taken 1 April, 1804) some 212 Briefs were read to the church of a 
total issued of 800 in that period. Were they selected by the ministers 
or by the Undertakers ? Most of those read were in respect of loss by 
fire, some by storm, but included were the appeals for " St. Andrews 
Harbour in Scotland, charge 8,734 " for which Denton collected 
5$. 9d. in February 1728/9, as also for Aberbrothock (Arbroath) 
Harbour in July, 1733, 95. 5d. y and for Dunbar Harbour in 1738 and 
1739; for damage to the Fisheries at Folkestone, Kent, 2,500, for 
which collected Is. lld.\ for Oyster Dredgers in the Medway, loss 
by frost in 1741 (10s. 6d.)\ for Fishermen at Feversham, Kent, similar 
loss 9,000 in 1743 (collected 9s. 2d.). In 1757 a Brief was read for 
2,250 for " Fortifications and Groynes " (against sea erosion ?) at 
Brightelmstone, Sussex. 

Overseas interest was evidently strong : for " a Great Loss by Fire " 
of the Protestants at Copenhagen, brief dated 21 April 1729, they 
collected 3 8s. Qd. at Denton, and for the great fire at Montreal, 
Quebec in 1766, total loss over 87,580, they received 3 Is. 6d. 
For the Colleges at Philadelphia and New York in 1762, they sub 
scribed 6 ISs. Qd.\ for the Vaudois ministers and schoolmasters, 
1767, only 15s. 6d., and for Inundations at Bobbio and Villaro, Luzerne 
valleys, Vaudois in 1739, Us. 3%d. 

Several entries occur from 1799 onwards of Briefs read but " nothing 
collected thereon " : these were mostly for small fires, where the need 
was perhaps felt to be less clamant some of the total losses were 
as low as 350, others up to 600 in this class. On a fire at Openshaw, 
Lanes., in September 1803, loss 410 6s. 0</., they received 6d. 

Several local disasters received consideration on Petitions, however, 
where no legal Brief was secured : on a fire at Yarmouth, September 
1742, loss totalling 500, they subscribed 2s. ; for another at Wymond- 
ham in 1750, 1 15s. &/.; for Eldon, Suffolk, value 360, in 1752, 
collected 13s. 10^.; for Hapton, Suffolk, 251, in 1753, the relief 
was 1 7s. 9d.\ and another at Fincham, Norfolk, in 1757, 8s. 6d. 

On average, the collections at Denton Meeting seem to have been 
about 2s. 6d. There are a number of Briefs noted as " Collected at 
Denton " however, as distinct from " Collected at Denton Meeting," 
which appear from Bewes s list to have been Walking Briefs i.e., not 
merely read in church, but approved for house-to-house collection : 
these in almost every case produced much larger sums six, eight, ten 
or more shillings. Collections upon Briefs seem to have taken place 
at Denton on an average twice a year, sometimes three in the twelve 
month, a not unreasonable figure. 



It is possible from the Denton Book to supply the following missing 
dates and amounts to supplement Bewes list of approved Briefs : 

Date of Brief 
1723/4 10 July 
1 Nov 
17 Dec. 




31 July 
10 July 

20 Feb. 
12 Dec. 

21 Nov. 

22 May 
26 Aug. 

28 Aug. 
5 Nov. 

12 Nov. 
24 June 

18 Dec. 

20 April 

23 Nov. 

21 July 

5 Aug. 

19 July 
8 Dec. 

22 Aug. 

13 Dec. 

6 June 

29 Nov. 
4 Oct. 

1729/30 4 Sept. 





Alrewas, Martham, etc. 

Michaelchurch & Grimston 





Campsall & Downton 

East Morden 

Crediton & Kirk Deighton 

Market Lavington 

Gt. Torrington 

Alderford & Gt. Horwood 






Littleport & Baddeley 
Gt. Wilbraham 



St. Andrew s Harbour 



Rickinghall & Botesdale 

In Bewes, p. 3 15, the Brief calendared 1732/3 as for Chesterfield, 
Yorks. (sic), should read Austerfield, which is in that county and not in 
Derbyshire, as Chesterfield is : (loss 1,500, issued 23 June, according 
to the Denton entry). 

In some instances the precise year is in doubt : most of the Briefs are dated (day, month) 
of the th year of the Reign and not by Calendar Years. 



The following estimates of loss, not given by Bewes, are entered in 
the Denton register : 






Melverley : Inundation . . . . 1,333 

Ebsworth (sic ? Elsworth) : Fire 1,407 

Sutton, Ely: Fire .. 1,998 

St. Albans: Fire .. .. 1,384 

Healey .. .. 1,085 

Blacktoft . . ,541 

Cobwall (sic ? Colwall, Heref.) ,173 

Eynsford : Fire.. .. ,661 

Harthill & Woodhall : Storm ,975 

Buckerell: Fire ,240 

Wyke & Townhope (sic ? Fownhope) ,107 

Weston Turville : Fire . . ,214 

Heaton & Oxcliffe : Inundation 5,312 

Upham & Winslow .. 1,134 

Stamford Bridge, Yorks : Fire 2 884 

Aylesbury: Fire 1,630 

Brighton : Fire . . 2,820 

North Meols . . 1,218 

Newenden & Rolvenden : Hailstorm 2,212 

It has not been possible to discover a case of a Brief for the re 
building or repair of a Dissenting Chapel among the numerous issues 
on behalf of building appeals. It scarcely seems likely that such legal 
imprimatur would be given in a case of this kind, although it would be 
interesting to find a case showing that the traffic in charity was not all 
one way. 


David Bogue to William Bull, 1813 

Gosport, 7th Deer. 1813. 
My dear Sir, 

From time to time I have the pleasure of hearing of your health and 
welfare by one Friend and another. It was a grief to me that I could 
not enjoy more of your company when you was at Gosport. From the 
illness with which I was then afflicted, it pleased God mercifully to 
recover me, and I have enjoyed as good health as I ever did in my life ; 
and I do not feel myself so much fatigued with the three sermons of 
the Lords day, as when I was thirty years of age : for this, great 
praise is due to the God of power and grace. 1 

You now, My dear Sir, are the Father of all the Tutors in the 
Dissenting Academies, and I have the honour to be next to you. This 
is the most important of all offices, and in the faithful discharge of it, 
the prosperity of the churches of Christ depends in no small degree. 
Though we have reason to be humbled in the dust on account of our 
imperfections and shortcomings, yet we have both cause to rejoice in 
seeing those who were under our tuition labouring with acceptance 
and success in the work of the Lord. It is cause of great gratitude 
to God, that your Son in able to carry on your plans, and fill your 
place. It gave me great pleasure to see that the Religious public 
took up your institution and was determined to patronise it, as it will 
render the benefits of the academy not only more lasting but more 

I have twenty students in the Seminary here. Fourteen of these are 
for Missionary Service, four of whom are just leaving me, three for 
Java, foreigners who can preach in the Dutch Tongue 2 and one who 
is from Jersey and his native tongue French, is going to the Mauritius, 1 
of the remaining six, four have English tongues in their heads and are 
for home service. Two from Jersey have French tongues and hope 
to labour in France. 4 

My third Son assists me in the languages. 5 He is between eighteen 
and nineteen, is a member of the Church, has gone through nearly all 

1 At the date of this letter Bogue was 63. 

a Joseph Kam, Gottlob Bruckner, John Christopher Supper, sent out by the L.M.S. to 

Java in January 1814. 

" John Le Brun, similarly designated to Mauritius. 
* Probably Philip Bellot, who went to Italy and then to France. Philip Messervey, 

however, another native of Jersey left the academy in 1816 for St. Aubins (d.1864). 
8 David Bogue, junior, who graduated M.A. at Glasgow in 1817, returned to continue his 

assistance to his father, and then studied for the Bar at the Inner Temple, but died 

prematurely, 27 Sept., 1824, aged 29. 

1 143 


the courses of Lectures in the seminary; and if God gives him a public 
spirit may be a Minister, and I hope a useful Minister of the Gospel. 
Pray for him. 

My French Students preach on the Lords day to the Prisoners here, 
and I am happy to say in various instances with success. 1 One of 
them yesterday put into my hands a letter giving an account of a 
remarkable conversion of one who had been a most notorious Sinner 
and an infidel; and what rendered it still more interesting to me, it 
was by reading the " Essay on the New Testament." The poor man s 
letter is very affecting in its description of his wickedness and misery. 
In one ship where there is another convert, twenty meet together, 
morning and evening, for reading the Scriptures and prayer. 

We live in a remarkable time and every man that can should labour 
diligently in the work of the Lord. Ministers should not grow old or 
imagine they cannot preach; but should attempt to do it, and not 
believe they cannot do it, till they actually find they are unable. Some 
good men have been laid aside by their imagination before they were 
disabled by bodily or mental inability; may you and I, my dear Sir, 
be preserved from this evil. 

I should be very happy to see you again at Gosport. Your services 
were not only seasonable but highly acceptable to the good people. 
I hope God is blessing his word among us. My younger Brethren 
in the Ministry are labouring diligently, and God is blessing their 
labours with an increase, both of hearers and members. My neighbour 
Mr. Griffin has now the largest Independent place of worship that 
ever was in England, and it is well filled. 2 

Mrs. Bogue, Dr. Dods, Mr. Minchin and many other Friends 
unite in kindest regards. I pray that God may spare and strengthen 
you yet for much service in his Church, and give you much comfort 
in your soul, and I am with great respect, Revd. and Dear Sir, 

Your very affectionate Brother, 

David Bogue. 
I have been waiting for a Frank but cannot obtain one. 

To : Revd. W. Bull, 

Newport Pagnell, 

** Mr. F. W. Bull, F.S.A., of Newport Pagnell, one of the senior members of our Society, 
to whom we are indebted for this letter, is directly descended from the Rev. William 
Bull (1738-1814), for an account of whom and his Academy see Transactions IV 266 ff 
and 305 ff. 

1 On this work among prisoners of war, see R. Lovett, History of the L.M.S., i. 93. 
John Griffin, minister of Orange-street Chapel (post King-street) Portsea, 1792-1834, d. 

Funeral Sermons on Thomas Spencer 
of Liverpool 

NO one who is at all familiar with printed books and pamphlets 
of the early nineteenth century can fail to be aware of the 
vast output of funeral sermons designed to " improve " 
someone s death. 1 These found their way into print, often with an 
" advertisement " modestly disclaiming any lasting value and indicating 
that the author had only diffidently yielded to those who had urged 
and entreated its publication. Most of them are now perhaps 
deservedly forgotten and are never read except by denominational 
historians in search of biographical material (since nearly every funeral 
sermon included an excursus or an addendum on the life and the 
death of the subject of the sermon). There is something little to our 
modern taste in these usually laboured and perverse attempts to justify 
the ways of God to man; the sentiments are often mawkish; the 
construction ingenious but not necessarily convincing. But without 
wishing to propose that a detailed study of funeral sermons might be 
an attractive field for research, we might find it an interesting task to 
rescue some of them from oblivion. One such interesting exercise 
is suggested by the forthcoming one hundred and sixtieth anniversary 
on 21 January, 1951 of the birth of Thomas Spencer and by the 
sermons which were called forth by his death only a little more than 
twenty years later on 5 August, 1811. 

THOMAS SPENCER S brief career as a Congregational minister 
was remarkable. 2 Born at Hertford and encouraged in his early 
education by his minister, Ebenezer White (afterwards of Queen- 
street, Chester) he left school at thirteen and, after a brief spel lin his 
father s worsted business went to London where he was apprenticed 
to glovers in the Poultry. Here he caught the attention of Thomas 
Wilson, the treasurer of Hoxton Academy and nursing-father to so 
many ministers and potent . i iTiiriUters. Wilson sent him to William 
Hordle of Harwich for a year s preliminary study in Latin (which he 
had already begun with White), in Hebrew, and in philosophical 
subjects. In November 1806, while still less than sixteen years of age, 
he applied to Hoxton and was admitted in January 1807, just before 
his sixteenth birthday. It was not until the summer vacation that 

1 There are very good bound collections of funeral sermons in Dr. Williams Library 
and in the Library of New College, London. 

* Ev. Mag., 1811, 369f.; Thomas Raffles, Memoirs of the Life and Ministry of the Late 
Ftev. Thomas Spencer, 6th edit., 1827; J. Waddington, Congregational History / 
182,196ff; 13. Nightingale, Lancashire Nonconformity, vi. 148ff; D.N.B.. liii. 378. 



year that he preached his first sermon at Collier s End, six miles from 
Hertford, but immediately he was in popular demand in neighbouring 
churches until his return to Hoxton limited his engagements. At the 
end of the year, John Leifchild of Kensington, supplying the pulpit 
at Hoxton Chapel, asked the young student to read the Scripture and 
engage in prayer. 

When he appeared in the pulpit after the first emotions of 
surprise were over, and after the mistakes of some, who supposed 
that he was a little boy belonging to the gallery, who from ignorance 
or thoughtlessness had gone up the pulpit stairs instead of those 
leading to his seat, had been corrected, so sweetly did he read the 
chapter, so earnestly, so Scripturally, so experimentally, did he 
engage in prayer that for the whole six Sabbaths afterwards he 
became the chief magnet of attraction to the place. The people 
now insisted upon it he should preach. 1 

In spite of the rules of the Academy, he was allowed to preach in 
Hoxton Chapel when he was just seventeen years of age. From then 
onwards he became a popular preacher, especially in London (where 
before his eighteenth birthday he preached to " an immense congre 
gation " from Rowland Hill s pulpit in Surrey Chapel) and in Brighton 
at the Countess of Huntingdon s Chapel and at Union-street Meeting 
where John Styles was minister. " Wherever his name was announced 
the crowd that flocked to his ministry proved how extensive and deep 
the impression was which it had excited." 2 The committee of the 
Academy appointed Spencer to spend the summer vacation of 1810 
at Newington Chapel, Liverpool, then vacant since the death of David 
Bruce two years earlier. Spencer went unwillingly and reluctantly; 
after a ministry of five Sundays had been extended to a sixth, he left 
Liverpool with equal reluctance. The day after his departure the 
church sent him a call. He accepted and began his ministry in Liverpool 
on Sunday 3 February, 1811. Immediately there was talk of en 
larging the chapel to accommodate the crowds who flocked to hear 
him; in March it was decided to build a new chapel in Great George- 
street capable of seating two thousand people. In April, Spencer 
laid the foundation-stone of the new building in the presence of about 
six thousand people. On 27 June, he was ordained in Byrom-street 
Chapel, lent by the Baptists because Newington was too small. 
William Hordle, his old tutor at Harwich, delivered the charge to the 
ordinand 3 and spoke more prophetically than he knew. 

You, my dear young brother, must die and stand at the bar 
of God. Your ordination service may be only a prelude to your 

1 Letter from Leifchild, quoted by Raffles, 121. 

Raffles, 134. 

; Ebenezer White might have been expected to do this but he had died earlier in the year. 


funeral service; for what is man ? Man is but of yesterday, 
and his days are as a shadow. How often have we seen the sun 
go down while it is yet day ! and while the church has been 
pleasing itself with the prospect of enjoying the pion, fervent 
labours of an endeared minister for years, has an unexpected 
stroke separated them for ever. 1 

On Monday 5 August, Spencer was drowned while bathing in the 
Mersey near the Herculaneum Potteries. The funeral took place 
eight days later and was watched by a concourse of spectators estimated 
at twenty thousand. 2 At the grave in the burial ground of Newington 
Chapel, the funeral sermon was delivered by Joseph Fletcher of 
Blackburn (minister of Chapel-street, then from 1816 first president 
of Blackburn Academy, and later of Stepney Meeting). William 
Roby of Grosvenor-street, Manchester, preached the funeral sermon 
in Newington the following Sunday, 18 August. 3 Other funeral 
sermons which were also printed were preached by Henry Foster 
Burder, of Hoxton Academy, at Hoxton Chapel on 15 August, 
John Styles at Union-street Meeting, Brighton, and Richard Slate, of 
Stand (the first historian of the Lancashire Congregational Union), 
at Tonbridge Chapel, Somers Town, both on Sunday, 18 August. 
These five sermons 4 together with Raffles s " Reflections " in the 
final chapter of his Memoir form an interesting study of funeral sermons, 
made even more striking by the youth and promise of the subject and 
the poignancy of his early death. 

All the sermons show a firmness of outline and construction which 
make them easy to summarize and even their summaries make 
interesting reading. 

Joseph Fletcher s sermon at the grave does not appear to have had a 
text but the preacher made use of four suitable texts in his introduction 
" How dreadful is this place," Thy way, O God, is in the sea," 
" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath 
begotten us again to this lively hope," and " He shall not return to us." 
It was an affecting instance of the uncertainty of life God was deter 
mined not only to make men know but to make them feel that they 
are in His hands and at His disposal, to compel them to acknowledge 
their dependence and to detach them from the crowd. It was a 
mysterious display of divine sovereignty which was never capricious, 
never arbitrary, never inconsistent with the perfections of His nature 
and never opposed to the declarations of His word. What solemn, 

1 Raffles, 260. 

- Ev. Mag., 1811, 370. 

3 In the entrance to the present Great George-street Church, Liverpool, is a tablet to the 

memory of Spencer. The text of the inscription is quoted in Nightingale, vi, 15 If. 
* Fletcher s sermon is printed as an appendix to Raffles s Memoir, 355ff. ; the others were 

all published separately. 

1 * 


instructive admonitions does this dispensation of providence address 
to the children of men ! It spoke to the thoughtless and unconcerned, 
bidding them prepare to meet their God; it spoke to mourners and the 
bereaved flock, giving them most powerful motives to perseverance 
and activity. They did not sorrow as those without hope but when 
heart and flesh failed, God was their strength and portion for ever. 

William Roby s sermon to the bereaved congregation was from 
the text " Remember them that have the rule over you . . . whose 
faith follow . . . Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever " 
(Hebr.xm.7,8) and was preached at their request. The pattern of the 
discourse is plainly marked : 

I. The ideas which ought to be entertained respecting ministers. 

1. Their official character as subordinate rulers acting under 
the authority of Christ. 

2. Their principal employ, speaking or preaching the word 
of God. 

3. Their frail mortality with the duration of their service and 
the manner of their removal wisely determined by God. 

II. The duties incumbent upon Christians and Churches, when 
deprived of their faithful pastors by death. 

1. To remember them, not with superstitious veneration (as 
heathen, idols, and Papists, saints) but with holy affection. 

2. To follow their faith. 

3. To consider the end of their conversation, or the termination 
of their earthly course. 

III. The consolation divinely provided for those who are lamenting 
the painful bereavement. 

1. The immutability of Jesus as the great High Priest. 

2. The merciful purposes of Christ comprehending all that is 
necessary for men s comfort and independent on every 

3. The personal excellencies of Christ whose bounty is 

4. What Christ has already done for His Churches (e.g., in 
sending faithful pastors) He can do again. 

IV. Final words of counsel. 

Raise your minds above all second causes. 

Humbly enquire into the probable reasons of this dark dis 
pensation. God may have taken away your pastor lest you 
idolize him, or He may intend to try your faith. 
Continue to be zealous. 

Indulge the exercise of lively hope; though your pastor is 
dead, the great Head of the Church still lives. 


Henry Foster Burder s sermon in Hoxton Chapel was a tribute not 
only from one of the tutors of the Academy but from the church 
where Spencer had first preached little more than three years earlier 
and where he had preached a farewell sermon on 28 January, the 
week before he began his ministry in Liverpool. The text was, " So 
teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto 
wisdom " (Ps.xc. 1 2). After showing that the attainment of true wisdom 
should be the object of men s pursuit, the preacher went on to show 
that the shortness and uncertainty of life should be a powerful incentive 
to the immediate pursuit of wisdom. After a long excursus on the 
life of Spencer, Burder examined the mysteriousness of providence. 
But the sudden death was a mercy to the deceased (who was exposed 
to dangers of a very formidable kind because of the eminence of his 
station and the lustre which his talents diffused) and might be a 
gracious design of God to awaken many to a concern for " the things 
which belong to their peace." The sermon closevi with a final address 
to the students present, warning them that their present engagements 
had not a tendency to promote spirituality of mind, and urging them, 
among other things, to reflect much on the uncertainty of life and 
uniformly to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ. 

Richard Slate s sermon at Tonbridge Chapel was entitled " Christ s 
Testimony of Ministerial Zeal " (it was from the text, " He was a 
burning and shining light, and ye were willing for a season to rejoice 
in lu s light " Jn.v.35). The chapel had been opened in November 
1810 and in the same month Spencer had preached there and might 
have become its minister but for his acceptance of the Liverpool call. 
Slate was a fellow-student at Hoxton (he settled at Stand in April, 1810) 
and he was supplying the pulpit at Tonbridge Chapel in the autumn 
of 1811 about the time of the death of Spencer. The sharply marked 
outline is thus : 

Introduction : The glory of being a preacher of the Gospel. 

1. That some of the servants of Christ are distinguished with 
peculiar gifts. They are burning and shining lights. 

1 . All ministers of Christ possess some gifts. 

2. The gifts of the ministers of Christ differ in degree. 
(Throughout this section of the sermon there is a consistent 
comparison between John the Baptist and Spencer, both 
considered as shining lights. Spencer s gifts in prayer and 
preaching are assessed). 

3. The gifts of Christ s ministers should be employed in His 
service, as they catch their light from Him. 


II. That when God raises up eminent ministers and crowns their 
labours with success, there is great joy manifested. 

1 . This joy is sometimes spurious. 

2. It is sometimes real. 

3. It is always transient " for a season." 

(Then follows an excursus on the life and death of Spencer.) 

The Improvement of the event. 

1. The ways of God are often very mysterious. But why dare 
you murmur ? 

2. Learn the uncertainty of all human prospects. 

3. Learn the danger of neglecting the important concerns of 
the soul and the necessity of immediate preparation for 

4. Learn to prize the merciful opportunities you now enjoy. 

John Styles sermon (" Be still, and know that I am God "- 
Ps.xlvi.lO) was appropriate not merely because Spencer had preached 
many times in Brighton since his first visit at the end of 1808, but 
because he was to have spent a holiday in Brighton and to have 
preached from that pulpit on the day that the funeral sermon was 
delivered there. The sermon is almost ruthless in its exploration of 
Calvinist theology. The Divine Being presents Himself to our view as : 

1. The Mysterious Governor of the world. " My wisdom is 
unerring," He says, " My plans embrace an infinite sphere; 
you are an insect wandering in a bye corner of nature, and do 
you complain that you cannot walk that mysterious circle in 
which I move ? Go, and be satisfied that I am God, and thou 
art man." 

2. The Efficient Governor. " I sometimes prepare the fittest 
instruments, qualify them eminently for my service, and permit 
the hopes of thousands to be suspended on them. Then I take 
them away in the dawn of their usefulness on purpose that I 
may more signally display my own efficiency, that I may 
astonish you with the abundance and variety of my resources." 

3. The Independent Governor. " Know that I am God." This 
is all the explanation He deigns to give when His conduct is 
impiously arraigned at the bar of His creatures. The Almighty 
is jealous of His independence and desires not be to justified 
by our reason. 

4. The Righteous Governor. It becomes a fundamental principle 
that the infinite God must do right. We are ready to tremble 
for the rectitude of the Supreme Governor because we forget 


that this is an apostate world. When eminent ministers of 
religion are summoned to their reward, it is an ill omen for the 
world. The recall of an ambassador usually precedes a declara 
tion of war ! 

5. The Merciful Governor. Mercy can be discovered in the 
death of a minister in the bloom of youth for the cause of 
religion does not hang on the slender thread of the most valuable 
life, the event is calculated to awaken the unsurrendered, and 
the world will derive the benefit of the whole undiminished 
effect of a religious example in its most alluring and attractive 
form. Death had preserved the bloom of Spencer s character. 

After an estimate of Spencer s life and the quotation of extracts 
from his recent letters, the preacher showed that his early departure 
was a solemn lesson to ministers (We must soon preach our last 
sermon), to Christians in general (Esteem ministers highly and break 
not their hearts), and to this congregation (Why was our dear friend 
arrested in his purpose to visit us ? Surely we ought to examine 
ourselves). Let us receive the doctrine he preached, adore the Saviour 
he loved, and submit to the guidance of the Spirit by whom he was 

Thomas Raffles himself did not have the opportunity of preaching 
a funeral sermon 1 but his " improvement " of the subject is to be 
found at the end of his Memoir and he follows the usual lines of 
treatment, under six headings. The first three draw lessons from 
Spencer s life (e.g. , obscurity of birth or station presents no in 
surmountable barrier to the progress of real excellence Raffles 
himself was always conscious of his birth and breeding). One heading 
marked the mysterious conduct of Jehovah s providence and asked, 
Was his death untimely ? was his death severe ? And one heading 
says, " From the early and sudden removal of Spencer, let churches 
learn to prize the labours of holy and devoted men, while they enjoy 
them ... I believe that some have even bedewed the ashes of their 
pastors with affected tears, who accelerated and imbittered their 
passage to the grave, by unkindness and neglect." 

An examination of these funeral sermons shows that while they are 
concerned to pay tribute to the dead and to comfort those who mourn, 
they are chiefly concerned with two problems that of wrestling with 
the mysteries of providence, and that of drawing lessons or " improving 
the occasion." 

Look at the latter first for that was a prime aim of the preacher. 
Indeed, Raffles unbares this aim as he comes to his final chapter of 
" Reflections " in the Memoir. 

1 He was at Hammersmith after leaving Homerton Academy in 1809 and only came to 
Liyerpool to succeed Spencer in 1812 and does not seem to have known him personally. 


I am unwilling further to detain the attention of the reader . . . 

by any additional reflections. For the preceding pages abound 

with observations of a practical nature, as the narrative suggested 

them and almost every topic of improvement which might now 

be introduced, has been fully anticipated and forcibly expressed, 

by the interesting publications which appeared immediately upon 

the death of Spencer. And yet, were I to dismiss this volume 

without any effort at a final improvement of the subject, I might 

be charged with neglecting the great object of biography utility. 

In these funeral sermons which \ve are studying, and in many other 

such sermons, the " improvement " seems to follow three lines. We 

might have expected the preacher to declare that death has taken the 

deceased from the miseries and uncertainties of earthly life. Instead 

the first emphasis seems to be upon his escape from the dangers of 

living. "You were in danger of idolizing him" says Koby; " i*e 

was exposed to dangers and temptations of a very formidable kind 

because of the eminence of his station, the lustre which his talents 

diffused, and the extraordinary power of attraction which those talents 

possessed," says Burder; " Death has preserved the bloom of his 

character," says Styles; and Slate is even more emphatic, " If he 

had lived longer might he not have been overcome by the snare of 

popularity and in one unguarded moment have brought as great a 

scandal upon the cause of Christ as he has now brought glory ? " 

It is true that Raffles, in a footr-.ote, protests against " liberal expositors 

of God s providence " and " bold infringers of the prerogative of 

God " who think that Spencer s death was a judgment on his people 

for what they have termed their idolatrous attachment to him, but 

the emphasis still remained upon the danger to Spencer. The second 

line of " improvement " summoned the hearers to watch and be 

ready. Ministers must soon preach and worshippers must scc.n hear 

their last sermon ; here is a solemn admonition of the uncertainty of 

life. The third line is somewhat similar. It challenges hearers to 

perseverance. " Most powerful motives to perseverance and activity 

are connected with this bereavement," says Fletcher; and Roby 

reminded the congregation at the memorial service that at Spencer s 

ordination, only seven weeks earlier, he (Roby) had addressed the 

congregation on being zealously affected always in a good thing, 

and he now renewed the advice. 

Apart from these attempts to " improve," the preachers were 
necessarily and sharply confronted with the mystery of God s ways, 
especially when death had come unexpectedly to one so young and so 
promising. First they had to face the seeming arbitrariness of events. 
The thorough-going Calvinist could, like Styles, batter down the 

1, 322. 


objector by asserting that God is the Supreme Governor responsible 
to no man and that it is impiety to ask His reasons. Others, more 
humbly, confessed that the ways of God were indeed mysterious and 
sought to find reasons why men should not murmur against them. 
While asserting that divine sovereignty was never arbitrary or 
capricious, they explained, or explained away, the death in terms of 
God s design to remove Spencer from dangers, or to awaken congre 
gations and to " lead them to the silent and impressive contemplation 
of things unseen and eternal " (Fletcher). Next, they were bound to 
face the untimeliness of Spencer s death. " Was his death untimely ? " 
asks Raffles ; " Can you presume to say he had not finished his course ? " 
asks Slate. * That life is long, that answers life s great end " quote:? 
Raffles and adds, " he had seen a good old age in usefulness, though 
not in years." Yet however certain the preachers might be about the 
felicity of Spencer in finding eternal life and about the rounded 
completeness of his earthly course (short though it had been) they still 
had to face the problem of what seemed to be irreparable loss to the 
whole Church. Mere their answer is strong and reassuring. " Do 
you suppose the work of God will fall to the ground because an active 
servant is removed ? " (Slate). " You may smile through your tears 
that the cause of religion does not hang on the slender thread of even 
the most valuable life " (Styles). Though your pastor is dead, the 
gread Head of the Church still lives . . . and He is infinitely more 
concerned for the success of His cause among you, than you can 
possibly be " (Roby). The final \vord lies in the way in which sorrow 
is transmuted by Christian foith. Fletcher has caught this best of all, 
and the end of his address at the grave-side must have been very 
moving and comforting. " Blessed be God, we sorrow not as those 
who have not hope. What a scene of unmingled gloom and horror 
would a grave present to our view, were it not for * Jesus and the 
resurrection. But the Gospel has brought life and immortality to 
light; it has shed its bright irradiations all along the valley of the 
shadow of death; and it enables us to contemplate the opening heavens 
of bliss beyond it Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift ." 


some Bibliographical Notes And 

Among the books published in 1640 was a work in verse entitled 
A Buckler against the feare of Death, or Pyous and Profitable Observa 
tions, Medytations and Consolations on Man s Mortality. The author 
describes himself on the title page as E.B., minister in G.B. . In 
the Dictionary of National Biography this is taken to be the poet, 
Edward Benlowes (1603-1676); but Benlowes, though he published 
religious works, was never a minister. In the old British Museum 
Catalogue the work is attributed, with a query, to Edward Barker, 
Vicar of Eye, Suffolk from 1650 till his ejection in 1660. This attri 
bution, which appears to be accepted in Calamy Revised, presumably 
depends on Calamy s statement that Barker * had a peculiar fancy for 
Divine Poetry; and compleated a Book of it, in imitation of Mr. 
Herbert ; but in 1640 Barker was still an undergratuate at Caius 
College, Cambridge. In the new B.M.C. the work is attributed to 
Edward Buckler, Rector of Calbourne, Isle of Wight, from 1653 till 
his ejection in 1662. In 1642 Buckler was ministering at Bradford 
Abbas, Dorset, where he returned after his ejection from Calbourne 
and where he died : the G.B. of the title page may thus be conjectured 
to stand for Glasen Bradford, then an alternative name for Bradford 
Abbas (see, e.g., John Hutchins, Hist, and Antiq. of . . . Dorset, iv. 121). 
Buckler did also publish other works on the subject of death. Moreover, 
to put his surname in the title, as he did if he wrote this piece, was a 
conceit of a kind popular in the middle years of the seventeenth 

The tract which appeared in 1651 with the title Fur Praedestinatus 
was at one time attributed to William Sancroft, later Archbishop of 
Canterbury, but is now known to be a translation of a piece by the 
Dutch theologian, Slatius. Together with the 1651 edition of the 
Articuli Lambethani, with which the copy in Dr. Williams Library is 
bound, it was published by G.D. at the expense of F.G. de ecclesia 
sti Nicolai apud Trinobantes. G.D. has been identified with the 
loyalist schoolmaster and private printer, William Dugard (see D.N.B.), 
but E.G. would appear to have escaped detection. There can be 
little doubt that he was Francis Gouldman, who from 1634 till his 
sequestration in 1644 was Rector of South Ockendon, a church 
dedicated to St. Nicholas, in Essex, which may correctly be described 
as apud Trinobantes. The identification is confirmed by the fact 



that Gouldman s name is found in connexion with the examination of 
Dugard in 1652, following the latter s publication of the Racovian 
Catechism. It is interesting that in 1651 Gouldman should dare to 
associate himself, though so cryptically, with the living from which he 
had been sequestered seven years earlier. In 1660 he was restored to 
it, and he was still there when he died in 1690. (See Walker Revised). 

In 1645 there was published a work entitled A moderate answer 
to those two questions: viz., whether Parents may bring their children 
to baptism ; 2. whether it be sinful to receive the Sacrament in a 
mixt Assembly. In the bibliography appended to H. M. Dexter s 
Congregationalism of the Last Three Hundred Years and in W. T. 
Whitley s Baptist Bibliography this piece is left without attribution. 
In the D.N.B., followed by Halkett and Laing s Dictionary of Anony 
mous and Pseudonymous English Literature and the B.M.C. (new as 
well as old), it is attributed to Thomas Blake, minister at Tamworth 
for some years preceding his death in 1657. The real author was 
Thomas Bedford, Rector of St. Martin Outwich, London, from 
1647 to 1652 (see D.N.B.\ Walker Revised). This appears from a 
letter from Bedford to Richard Baxter dated 8 March 1650/1 and 
printed in the third edition (1653) of Baxter s Plain Scripture Proof of 
Infants Church- Membership and Baptism, pp. 347-353. Here Bedford 
states that it was a revision, with omissions, of his Treatise of the 
Sacrament (1638), on which Baxter had animadverted in the appendix 
to the first edition of his Plain Scripture Proof. In that appendix 
Baxter also refers to Bedford s Way to Freedom. This was a sermon 
on Rom. vi.7, entitled " The Ready Way to True Freedom," which 
was appended to the Treatise. In a later work, Vindiciae Gratiae 
Sacramentalis (1650), Bedford included a letter to Samuel Ward 
(d.1643), Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, from 
John Davenant (1576-1641), a predecessor of Ward as Lady Margaret 
Professor. Bedford may thus be presumed to be the * T.B. who in 
the same year edited, with a preface, a posthumous work by Davenant, 
entitled Dissertationes Duae. 

Among the Baxter MSS. (59 . 6 . 90) at Dr. Williams Library 1 is a 
letter of 7 May 1652 from Baxter to John Durie, the apostle of unity 
(see D.N.B.). In this letter Baxter names representatives of the 
Episcopal, Presbyterian and Independent parties, who as moderate 
men might suitably be chosen to confer together with a view to settling 

For access to these MSS. and for permission to refer to them I have to thank the Librarian 
of Dr. Williams Library. I wish also to thank Miss G. Woodward for help in some of 
the identifications made. 


their differences. The names he suggests for the Independents 
representatives are Jos. Simonds and Greenhill. William 
Greenhill, the Morning Star of Stepney, is well known as a Con 
gregational leader of the time (see D.N.B. ; C.R.), but Joseph Synionds 
has received less attention. There seems no biographical article on 
him other than the scanty notice in Benjamin Brook s Lives of the 
Puritans, iii.39f. There it is stated that Symonds at one time assisted 
Thomas Gataker, Rector of Rotherhithe, Surrey (see D.N.B.), was 
Rector of St. Martin s, Ironmonger (or Iremonger) Lane, London, 
became an Independent, went to Holland, and there succeeded Sidrach 
Simpson (see D.N.B.) as minister of the Independent Church at 
Rotterdam. This notice may now be considerably supplemented. 

From Venn s Alumni Cantabrigienses it appears that Symonds was 
of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he matriculated m 1620 
and whence he took his M.A. in 1627, and that he was ordained by the 
Bishop of Peterborough in 1624. White Kennett s Register and 
Chronicle Ecclesiastical and Civil gives the years when he was Rector 
of St. Martin s as 1632 to 1639, when he was deprived. In this year 
he published The Case and Cure of a Deserted Soule. On the title-page 
of a Sermon lately preached at Westminster (1641) he refers back to his 
London living but describes himself as now pastor of a church in 
Roterdam. (His name finds no place, however, in the lists of pastors 
of British churches in the Netherlands appended by W. Stevens to 
his History of the Scottish Church, Rotterdam (1832) and should he 
added.) By 1647 he was back in England. It appears from the 4th 
London Classis Minutes (Dr. Williams Library MS., per C. E. Surman) 
that the Classis recommended his appointment as Lecturer at St. 
Michael s, Cornhill, vice the Independent leader, Jeremiah Burroughes, 
who had died. The matter was evidently controversial, for on 4 Feb. 
1646(/7) the Classis published A Full and Faithfull Accompt of it. 
Nor was Symonds appointed Lecturer, for on 1 March 1646/7 he 
obtained the rectory of St. Mary Abchurch, London (W. A. Shaw, 
History of the English Church, 1 6<}()- (">(!(), ii.338); but in the following 
year the living was again vacant (Walker Revised, p. 59). In 1647 
he also became a Fellow of Eton, and later Vice-Provost (T. Harwood, 
Alumni Etonenses, pp. 72 foil.). On the titlepage of his Sight and Faith 
(1651) he prints after his name the initials C.E.S. , i.e. Collegii 
Etonensis Socius ; and on the titlepage of his posthumous Three 
Treatises (1653), edited, with a preface, by Nathaniel Ingelo (see 
below), he is called late Vice-Provost of Eton. The exact date of 
his death seems not known; but only a few months after Baxter s 
commendation of him as a moderate Independent, a commendation 
to be found earlier in Thomas Edwards Gangraena, iii.243, he is 
mentioned in a letter of 12 November 1652 (Baxter MSS., 59 . 6 . 128), 


from Thomas Doolittle (see D.N.B. \ C.R.) to Baxter, as one of 24 
ministers who had died during the year. He was succeeded in his 
Fellowship at Eton by John Oxenbridge (see D.N.B.; C.R.), who 
was admitted on 25 Oct. 1652 (Harwood, loc.cit.). In Gray Hayres 
crowned with grace (1655), the funeral sermon for Gataker preached by 
Simeon Ashe (see D.N.B. \ C.R.), p. 59, it is stated that M. Gataker 
hath been observed to say of Symonds, It was pity that our Church 
lost him, intimating his turning aside to ways of separation . 

Symonds is to be distinguished from the Jo. Symmonds, M.A. 
who in 1650 published Saints like Christ: or Somewhat of truth 
delivered to the Congregation at Headley in Hampshire. This was John 
Siinmonds, who, as Rector of Singleton, Sussex, from 1659 till his 
ejection in 1661, finds a place in Calamy Revised, though his publication 
is not noted there. As directed in Appendix III of that work, the 
entry * C(urate) of Beaulieu, Hants. should be corrected to R(ector) 
of Headley, Hants. . 

Symonds is also to be distinguished from the Mr. Simmonds, 
with whom, together with Mr. [Walter] Cradock, and other very 
zealous godly Nonconformists in Shrewsbury, Baxter became ac 
quainted at about 20 years of Age, and whose fervent Prayers and 
savoury Conference and holy Lives did profit me much (Reliquiae 
Baxterianae, i.13). This was Richard Symonds (see D.N.B.). The 
article on Baxter in the D.N.B. confuses Richard Symonds with 
Joseph Symonds; and in the article on Oxenbridge Joseph Symonds 
is called John. 

The Nathaniel Ingelo who edited Joseph Symonds Three Treatises 
is noticed in the D.N.B. When Bulstrode Whitelocke was in Sweden 
from 1653 to 1658 as ambassador to Queen Christina, Ingelo accom 
panied him, it is stated, as chaplain and rector chori. The D.N.B. 
article further states that prior to this Ingelo lived in Bristol, where he 
administered the sacrament to a small body of Dissenters who met 
in Christmas Street ; and quotes the description of Ingelo in John 
Evans History of Bristol (1824) as giving offence to the rigid com 
municants by his careful attention to dress, and especially by his love 
of music. To a remonstrance upon which species of indulgence 
Mr. Ingelo replied : " Take away Music, take away my life." : 

This small body of Dissenters in Bristol appears to have been 
none other than the Separatist church which eventually became 
Broadmead Baptist Church. In the MS. history of that church, as 
edited for the Hanserd Knollys Society in 1847, it is stated s.a. 1645 


that : 

Lord s dayes in ye mornings they usually heard Mr. Ingelo, 
att ye Parish (or Publique) meeting house called Allsaints near 
ye Towlzy; 


Haveing noe Pastor they Chose Mr. Ingello aforesaid (otherwise 
called Doctor Angello), to be their teacher, and sate under his 
Ministry about four or five years. They also desired him to 
break bread unto them, which accordingly he did during ye 
said time; 

and that : 

at last divers of ye Members of ye Congregation began to be 
offended with Mr. Ingello s Conversation; as first, with his 
Flaunting apparell . . . together with his being given so much to 
Musick . . . For he tould them, take away his Musick, take 
away his Life; 1 which offended and Stumbled them more, that 
is, ye Lively and most serious, watchful members in those times ; 
that their affections began to Alienate from him, and to hearken 
after another. 

Ingelo s Flaunting apparell would appeal to Whitelocke as well 
as his devotion to music; for Whitelocke not only recreated himself 
with music from his undergraduate days onwards, but when in 
Sweden plumed himself on proving to the Swedish court that a 
puritan could possess all the graces of a cavalier (C. H. Firth, in 
D.N.B., s.v.). Whitelocke s choice of a clergyman who was willing 
to break bread with a Separatist church to be his chaplain is also in 
line with his known sympathies, for he attended St. Pancras, Soper 
Lane, London, under the ministry of George Cokayn (see D.N.B.; 
C.R.). To Cokayn and Congregational principles, moreover, White 
locke remained faithful. Among the licences for Nonconformist 
worship granted in 1672 one was granted to Cokayn; and the very 
next entry reads " The howse of Sr Bulstrod Whitelock at Chilton 
Lodge, Wilts., Congr. Meeting Place " (Original Records, ed. G. Lyon 
Turner, i.482; cf. J. B. Marsh, The Story of Harecourt, 1871, p. 139). 
Ingelo, on the other hand, conformed. He was reinstated in his 
Eton Fellowship, and in 1677 was Rector of Piddlehinton, Dorset 
(Hutchins, i.580). 


1 Note the oralio obliqua, not oratie recta, as in D.N.B. 


The Journal of the Friends Historical Society (1949, No. 2) 
contains articles on " The Staffing of Friends Schools in England 
during "the Nineteenth Century " by W. A. Crawford Stewart, " Three 
Letters of William Penn " edited by Felix Hull, and a continuation of 
" The First Century of Quaker Printers," by Russell S. Mortimer. 

The Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society (Sept. and Dec., 
1949) have three letters from John Wesley to his wife, one to Walter 
Churchey, and some of the correspondence which passed between 
John Wesley and Sarah Crosby, " the first authorized woman preacher 
of Methodism." There are also two articles on " Early Methodism 
in Furness." 

A useful article on Roger Williams (1603-1683), founder of Rhode 
Island, appears in the Baptist Quarterly for April 1950. Williams is 
described as " the greatest contribution of England to the American 
Colonies," and prophet-statesman of democracy and religious liberty. 
The Rev. E. A. Payne writes on the diaries of John Dyer, first full- 
time Secretary of the B.M.S. (1817-1841). Dr. E. J. Tongue continues 
the account of Dr. John Ward s Trust. 

The Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society (Oct., 1949) 
prints articles on " Some Account of the Annual Meeting of Pres 
byterian Ministers," " The Evolution of Unitarian Church Building," 
" Robert Mortimer Montgomery," " Thomas Newman, 1655-1742," 
" A Short Account of the Free Christian Church, Billingshurst," and 
" Presbyterian (Unitarian) Chapel, Stourbridge, 1698-1948 ". 


1 1 


The second volume of The First Minute Book of the Gainsborough Monthly 
Meeting of the Society of Friends, 1669-1719 (Lincoln Record Society, vol. 40) 
contains Mr. H. W. Brace s transcripts for the years 1689 to 1709, and includes 
some of the earliest material in print for the establishment of the (still con 
tinuing) office of Overseers. There is only a page of preface, but there is a 
full index of persons and places, as well as an index of subjects, which includes 
such entries as disciplinary proceedings (e.g., for debt, drunkenness and 
" marrying out "), fencing of burial grounds, provisions of relief (e.g., bedding, 
clothing and fuel), and subscriptions for various purposes. These activities 
might usefully be compared with those of a contemporary Congregational 
church, e.g., those printed in Prof. G. B. Harrison s edition of The Church 
Book of Bunyan Meeting, Bedford. 


Sons of Freemen, by the Rev. R. G. Martin (R.E.P., 4*. 6d.), is a book 
commissioned by and published for the Free Church Federal Council Youth 
Department. It is a vividly presented account of the witness of famous and 
lesser known Christians to the freedom with which Christ has set us free and 
in which we stand. The story begins in the N.T. and is carried down to the 
present day. This book should be in the hands of all ministers, teachers and 
youth leaders. 

The Rev. Ivan E. Moore, a member of the Society, has published a 
pamphlet, reprinted from the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of 
Archaeology and Natural History, on Roman Suffolk. This careful and scholarly 
little work is illustrated by a map, photographs and line drawings. 

We have received brief histories of Bollington Congregational Church 
and of Cliff Town Congregational Church, Southend. 


Mr. Bernard S. Godfrey adds to his histories of Doddridge (Castle Hill) 
and Primrose Hill Churches, another useful Northamptonshire record in 
The Congregational Church at Welford, (Northampton : Billingham & Son^ 
Is. 6d.), carefully and interestingly written, while the Rev. George H. Peters 
amplifies his biographical sketch of Humphrey Gainsborough by a well produced 
and copiously illustrated history of the town and churches in This Glorious 
Henley (Independent Press, 2s. 6d.). 




THE 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society was held at Westminster 
Chapel on 9 May, 1951, at 5-30 p.m. There were present 42 
members and 17 non-members. The committee appointed 
last year was re-elected, with the Rev. R. F. G. Calder added as Chair 
man; in his absence on this occasion Dr. G. F. Nuttall took the Chair. 
The Rev. A. G. Matthews had graciously consented to become 
President of our Society, and was elected to this office with acclamation. 
Dr. R. S. Paul was elected Associate Editor of these Transactions, 
and Mr. H. G. Wilkinson was elected Honorary Auditor. The other 
officers were re-elected, with thanks for their continued services. 
A reassuring report of the gradual rehabilitation of the Congregational 
Library was received. 

The President read himself in with a paper entitled " Church and 
Dissent in the Reign of Queen Anne," which well expressed the wit 
and apposite phrasing so characteristic of him, as well as the scholarship 
underlying but not concealed by these. The Society s thanks were 
expressed by Dr. Paul, and it was agreed that the paper should be 
printed in these Transactions. 

The symposium on Philip Doddridge s contribution to English 
religion, to which reference was made earlier, has now appeared and 
will be reviewed in our next number, along with the lecture for 1951 
in the series sponsored by the Friends of Dr. Williams Library, 
" Richard Baxter and Philip Doddridge : a study in a tradition." 
To this lecture, which is arranged for Tuesday, 9 October, at 5-30 p.m. 
at the Library, all members of our Society arc courteously invited. 
It is intended that our next number, which should appear later this 
year, shall concentrate on Doddridge, thus contributing to the 
celebrations which reach their climax at Northampton on the 200th 



anniversary of his death, 26 October. Professor Norman Sykes of 
Cambridge has also kindly promised an article entitled " Albert Peel 
and Historical Studies." 

It would be of interest to know in how many places in Britain during 
this Festival year the history of the Free Churches is being recalled 
and re-presented, after the fashion, for instance, of the panels to be 
on show at the Memorial Hall. At Rowton, in Shropshire, a memorial 
has been erected on the village green to Richard Baxter. Through 
his associations with Kidderminster Baxter is commonly thought of 
as a Worcestershire man but he was born at Rowton of a Shropshire 
yeoman family, and his first charge was at Bridgnorth. Shropshire 
does well to honour one of the greatest of her sons. 

During the year we have lost six members by death : the Rev. 
Alexander Barber, formerly of Stratford-on-Avon, of which church 
he wrote the history, A Church of the Ejectment; Mr. F. W. Bull, 
of Newport Pagnell, a descendant of William Bull of the Newport 
Pagnell Academy and a senior member of the Society; the Rev. 
W. A. Freeman, of Bridlington; Mr. Arnold Jeffery, of Northampton; 
the Rev. W. A. Powicke, of Stockport, son of Dr. F. J. Powicke and 
brother of Sir Maurice Powicke; and Sir Malcolm Stewart, son of 
Sir Halley Stewart. There have also been three resignations. We 
welcome 18 new members, four of them corporate members. 

When a piece of work has been done with the thoroughness which 
the study of the ejected ministers received in Mr. Matthews Calamy 
Revised, it seems a pity that there is not some recognized repository 
for additional information, as this becomes known. Perhaps among 
the celebrations of 1962 will be the publication of a new edition; for 
a work of this nature inevitably provokes further research, which in 
time needs to be incorporated. The bibliographical field is likely to 


yield rich finds here. Occasionally, as in the cases of John Galpin 
and Charles Nichols, the entry Publication (D.W.L.C.) may be 
added at the close of an entry. Sometimes a minister did not publish 
any separate item, yet something by him may be found printed in 
another work. Marmaduke Tenant, for instance, as Calamy remarks, 
published no book of his own but wrote a commendatory epistle for 
Invisibles, Realities (1673), the popular life of John Janeway by his 
brother, James Janeway. (Since his father was of Starbotton (sic) 
in Wharfedale, Tenant was presumably related to the James Tennant 
of Scar House near by, who entertained George Fox, as Fox records 
in his Journal.) Again, in Dr. Williams Library is a small book by 
John Clifford of Wimborne, Sound Words (1699), which appears to 
be the only copy known to be extant. With Calamy s help, " The 
Christian s Daily Work " "by another hand," which is bound up 
with it, can safely be identified as the work, appearing posthumously, 
of Thomas Rowe, who had been ejected from the neighbouring 
Lytchett Matravers. 

Still another source as yet but rarely used is the type of book which 
includes private letters from ejected ministers. One example must 
suffice : Timothy Rogers A Discourse Concerning Trouble of Mind, 
and the Disease of Melancholy (1691). Between pages xxxiv and Ixx 
of this book are printed letters to the author from Henry Lukin, 
Ralph Ward and George Nicholson, and to their relations from George 
Porter and Richard Gilpin, among ministers included in Calamy 
Revised, as well as from a number of others who may be identified 
from the Dictionary of National Biography or from Alexander Gordon s 
Freedom after Ejection. In some cases the letters bear the addresses 
from which, as well as the dates on which, they were written and thus 
serve to check the writers movements. Discoveries of this kind are 
almost always made by the way, are easily passed over in the search 
for something of more immediate import and are then quickly forgotten. 
They deserve better treatment. 

1 1 * 

Church and Dissent in the Reign 
of Queen Anne 

THE reigns of the Queens of England are the high-lights of our 
history. Of this fact, as inexplicable as it is patent, the twelve 
years of Queen Anne s rule provide an illustration : they 
were years of spectacular national achievement. To match them we 
have to go back to the days of Queen Elizabeth, or forward to the 
days of Queen Victoria. But for Nonconformists they were years of 
increasing anxiety, which deepened into acute alarm. It was as if the 
last of the Stuart sovereigns, in conjunction with her Tory ministers, 
gathered herself up to give final vent to the hereditary hatred of her House 
for Puritanism and all its associates. The coup de grace of the vendetta, 
or what was intended to be such, was aimed at Nonconformist education. 
The Schism Act of 1714 would close their ministerial academies and 
their schools. Before the threat of such a devastating blow its 
prospective victims might well tremble for their future, for the spiritual 
future of their children for the ministry, on whom depended their 
future as religious bodies. The one ray of hope was the Queen s 
speedy death. Her health had long been precarious, and she was now 
thought to be near her end. If her removal might be immediate, then, 
under the House of Hanover, there was every reason to anticipate 
that the iniquitous Act would shrivel into a dead letter without ever 
coming into operation. The ray of hope broadened into a perfect 
dawn. Her Majesty passed away on the morning of Sunday, 1 August 
1714, the very day the Act came into force. The Nonconformists 
were saved, by a miracle, they declared; by " a crowning mercy," 
they might have said, had they retained Cromwellian idiom. They 
were, in fact, along with their fellow-countrymen at large, entering 
upon a new epoch. The land had rest. After well-nigh a century of 
division and strife, rising to the height of a civil war, the public 
execution of one king, the compulsory abdication of another forty 
years later, England enjoyed some half-a-century of the placidity the 
caricaturist called " pudding-time," what more discerning spirits 
prefer to dignify as the Peace of the Augustans. 

And now let us try to enter into the feelings of our forefathers as 
they are reflected in a famous incident familiar to most of you. Perhaps 
you may enjoy renewing your veneration for what is surely one of the 
brightest treasures of our reliquary. The drama is in two scenes. The 
first is set on Smithfield on that Sunday morning, early. Her Majesty 
has not yet breathed her last; she died at 7-30. Enter the hero of the 



story, Thomas Bradbury, a sturdy Yorkshireman, in the prime of life, 
aged about forty, and at the height of his fame as a political parson, 
of the whiggish persuasion, naturally. Even Queen Anne paid him 
what on her lips was perhaps a dubious honour. Bold Bradbury she 
dubbed him, and the accolade was well chosen. But on this morning 
as he walks over Smithfield he is under the cloud of the Schism Act. 
Here, on this ground he treads, Protestant martyrs had some hundred 
and fifty years before paid the supreme sacrifice of their faith. True, 
the Nonconformists are not now for the stake, but they may none 
the less have reluctant heroism thrust upon them. In that predicament 
would they, would he, Thomas Bradbury, be found as faithful as 
those brave sufferers of long ago ? 

To the downcast preacher there comes relief. Enter Bishop Burnet 
in his carriage, deus ex machina. The Bishop by this time had turned 
seventy. In less than a year, the word was to go round, " Burnet is 
dead." Sad news indeed ! for throughout his long and adventurous 
career Gilbert Burnet had gone out in all weathers to fight for religious 
liberty, a cause so near and dear to Nonconformist hearts. But this 
morning the Bishop shows little sign of declining vigour. Not, of 
course, that he is the man of thirty years ago, the portly prince of 
Dryden s alliterative portrait, black-browed, broad-backed and brawny. 
All the same, he is full of bustling energy and shrewd counsel. He 
descends from his carriage to insist that Bradbury, with whom he is 
evidently on intimate terms, must not lose heart. The Queen will 
die any moment; the situation will be saved; the Schism Act wiped 
off the record. He, Burnet, is on his way to St. James s, and if the 
fatal event occurs before Bradbury s congregation breaks up, they 
shall hear of it. Should Her Majesty die thus opportunely, Bradbury 
must expect to see a man make his way to the front of the gallery and 
drop a handkerchief. A little piece of finesse this, such as Burnet was 
well versed in. The two conspirators may have settled on the bearer 
of the news, for, according to one version of the story, Bradbury s 
brother, a medico, was cast for the part of the messenger. 

The second scene is in the Congregational meeting-house, Fetter 
Lane. The preliminary exercises are over. Bradbury has got under 
way with his sermon. In due course the messenger enters and drops 
his handkerchief. The preacher takes no notice of him. Nor do we, 
we are too much taken up with him, the man in the pulpit, with his 
melodious voice, his high-poised head, his lively gesticulations 
(characteristics vouched for by a contemporary). How different had 
we been listening to Isaac Watts ! You recall the memorable comment 
on Watts statuesque delivery : " As no corporeal actions have any 
correspondence with theological truth he did not see how they could 
enforce it." What would Dr. Johnson have to say about Bradbury s 


" dancing hands," the same contemporary s satirical phrase for his 
" corporeal actions " ? 

And now Bradbury has finished his sermon. He calls the congrega 
tion to prayer. The auspicious moment has come for his tremendous 
announcement. He gives it out obliquely under cover of the petition, 
" God bless George, King of Great Britain and Ireland." The 
congregation gasps with incredulous wonder, while the preacher, did 
they but know it, is inwardly congratulating himself on being the first 
to make public proclamation of the new Sovereign. Next Bradbury 
calls his people to join in the after-psalm, as it was liturgically styled. 
It is the 89th, telling of King David s establishment on the throne of 
Israel. None could be more apposite. The singing rises to an over 
whelming crescendo in the last verse of Part III. 

Succession in his family 

From failing I ll secure. 

The Regal Power therein shall last 

While the heavens do endure. 

A promise up to the present made good ! What wits ! confident, keen, 
quick, decisive, this man Bradbury has under his wig. A few minutes 
talk on Smithfield, and he has his unique order of service pat, all the 
i s dotted, all the t s crossed. The law may debar him from Oxford 
or Cambridge, but in the world s larger university he has graduated 
with honours as a master of assemblies. 

So much for the Nonconformists and their psalm-singing; and 
now to cross over to the Tory camp, to hear not a. jubilate but a jeremiad. 
Party-members were confronted with the bleak prospect of an 
indefinite loss of power, themselves marking time while the Whigs 
marched on with flying banners. It may be of interest to learn a 
little more of what Tories are saying, one of them in particular. He 
is not a Londoner; we must travel as far as Exeter to scrape acquaint 
ance with him. John Walker, the object of our journey, was by now 
a man of forty or so, who for the past sixteen years had been Rector 
of St. Mary More, the church, rebuilt since his day, which encumbers 
the precinct of the Cathedral. He also, like Bradbury, was under a 
cloud, albeit of a different composition. He also had a tale of woe, 
a more personal plaint, to unfold. His voice is shrill, his wig awry 
(this is par excellence the age of the wig), as he enlarges on his doubts 
and fears. For ten years he has been in the throes of compiling the 
book to be famed later as Walker s Sufferings of the Clergy. It was, 
as you recall, a memorial of the men who for their loyalty to King 
and Church were harried by the Puritans during and after the Civil 
War. The volume was designed to be a counter-blow to Calamy s 
memorial of the ministers ejected in 1662, a retort to Calamy s charge 
that the Establishment was guilty of persecution. 


When the prospectus of this publication was first issued, the project 
received a welcome outdoing all expectation. Subscribers to the order 
of thirteen hundred and forty entered their names, some of them for 
several copies. Nothing like it had been known before, or is to be 
found in the later records of publication by subscription. Pope s 
Iliad, published the next year, and accounted an exceptionally well 
subscribed for volume, had not half that number of names to its 
credit. The thirteen hundred and forty on Walker s list are all 
catalogued with their social standing attached to their names trades 
men, personages of rank and title of both sexes, to say nothing of 
clergymen, college dons and booksellers; a most diverting study 
the list makes, a period handbook of intelligent Torydom. The 
prospective book had every promise of being the best of party-sellers, 
and its author of being acclaimed a redoubtable champion of the 
Church. But all this lively interest belonged to the years when the 
Tory tide was running strong. Despite the remonstrances of his 
publishers Walker remained obstinately slow in the output, with 
consequences that threatened to be disastrous. Time and tide, he 
had lost them both. Would Tories now console themselves for the 
reverses of 1714 by poring over " a map of desolation " inscribed with 
the sorrows of their fathers and grandfathers sixty years back ? It 
was improbable that they would take kindly to this homoeopathic 
remedy for their ills. And now r what if subscribers defaulted on their 
contracts ? What if the costly volume was left high arid dry on the 
market ? What if after all those ten years of stern toil the bulky tome 
proved but another of " hope s delusive mines " ? No wonder that 
its author was on tenterhooks, no wonder that his voice was plaintive, 
his wig ruffled. 

Apart from his book, and that is a notable qualification, Walker was 
not a man of intellectual distinction. Politically he was no deviationist. 
He toed the party-line, and held the principles and prejudices of what 
the enemy called a high-flier. That is to say, he responded ex animo 
to the rub-a-dub of the High Church drum, when it beat to the tunes 
that the Church was in danger, that Sacheverell was a martyr, that 
the Dissenters must have their wings clipped for abusing the toleration 
granted them. All the same, Walker was loyal to the Protestant 
Succession, was no Jacobite but what in the political nomenclature of 
the time was known as a Hanoverian Tory. This he was careful to 
advertise in yet one more addition to his interminable preface. He 
there registers the prayer that " God may long preserve the illustrious 
House of Hanover to render it a lasting blessing to these nations." 

From that pious petition he makes a volte-face into one of the 
abruptly explosive transitions which are among his deplorable foibles, 
and viciously belabours the Dissenters. They have openly gloated 


over the death of the late Queen could any rumour have reached his 
ears of the goings-on in Fetter Lane ? More, they have boasted that 
King George would take them into his favour and cold-shoulder the 
Church of England, whose privileged position was to Tory thinking 
the hinge on which the stability of the national life turned. Impudent, 
insolent, arrogant are the adjectives which Walker throws out at those 
he accuses of this shameless misconduct. Invective he always has 
ready to hand, and here we have only a milder example of his abusive 
ability. To indulge in " propaganda by denigration " was then, and 
not only then, common controversial form. Perhaps an expert in 
the science of comparative invective would not discover it as a whole 
to contain any higher percentage of vitriol than the language to be 
heard in the House of Commons to-day, when the blood of Honourable 
Members is under pressure, to say nothing of foreign brands. Be that 
as it may, you must not expect Walker to have any oil for troubled 
waters. Appeasement is not in his repertoire, nor, for that matter, in 
his vocabulary. Moderation was the term under which that perfidious 
spirit then masqueraded. If there was one man more than another 
who was anathema to Walker, more so even than a Nonconformist, it 
was a Moderate Churchman, a contemptible creature treacherously 
indifferent to the safety of his own Church, while eagerly solicitous for 
the liberties of the Separation. 

Here we light on a radical difference in temper between Walker and 
his Nonconformist opponent, Edmund Calamy. Moderation was a 
word as entrancing to Calamy s ear as it was exasperating to Walker s. 
" I had moderation instilled into me from my cradle," Calamy confides 
to the readers of his autobiography. A Plea for Moderate Nonconformity 
is the title of a book he brought out in 1703. His moderation led him 
to regret the collapse of the Comprehension Bill of 1688. For its 
failure he blamed King William s policy of leaving the preliminary 
negotiations in the hands of the clergy; that was to foredoom the issue. 
Henry VIII, Calamy averred, had taken a more excellent way in his 
management of the Reformation Settlement. He had kept the 
ecclesiastics in the background till all was decided by himself and his 
Parliament, and had then called the churchmen in at the eleventh 
hour to bless a fait accompli. He had thus made sure of " carrying his 
point," Calamy s suave euphemism for a piece of Tudor autocracy. 
As things now stood, Calamy still hoped for what he called " union on 
Scripture terms," i.e. without the imposition of later observances. 
In church government he advocated eclecticism, " a prudent mixture 
of the Episcopal, Presbyterian and Congregational principles," under 
the surveillance of the civil government. 

All this was in a political setting. The churches were not kept out 
of party politics, very far from it. Calamy, like others of his brethren, 


was a staunch upholder of the Dissenter-Whig alliance, which dated 
back to the Roundhead-Puritan combination of the previous century. 
The Nonconformists had learned to look to the Whigs, the champions 
of religious toleration, to protect them from the Tory platform of one 
nation, one church, and hard terms for recalcitrant religious minorities. 
That their Whig patrons were many of them free-thinkers and free- 
livers might be open to objection, the alliance was certainly a strange 
one; but the Nonconformist conscience was not so squeamish as it 
became in the next century; or perhaps their blind eye was blinder. 
Any of you who have to come to think that pure religion and unpolitical 
is too ethereal diet to make for either the best health of political parties 
or the practical effectiveness of our religion, will sympathize with our 
forefathers in their political alinement. 

To return to Calamy. Having glanced at his opinions, we may 
wonder what manner of man their holder was. " Lives and characters 
are very entertaining," those are his own words. W T hat of himself ? 
will he yield entertainment ? To aid me in replying to that question 
I shall appeal to one who spoke with authority, a master of biography 
in brief, Alexander Gordon. This year we pay tribute to the memory 
of the most universally honoured of our eighteenth-century divines, 
Philip Doddridge. W T e look forward to reading the Festschrift, if it 
may so be called, prepared under the editorship of Dr. Nuttall. Gordon 
prepared the way with an illuminating paper entitled Doddridge and the 
Catholicity of the Old Dissent, which has just been reprinted by the 
Lindsey Press. The essay opens with a character sketch of Calamy, 
whom Gordon couples with Doddridge as a great liberal unionist in 
English Nonconformist polity. Some of you will recall Gordon s 
description of Calamy : " a genial, full-bodied divine, he walked before 
God in the healthy enjoyment of human life and human liberty." 
Stalwart in body he was, also stalwart in his well-reasoned and strongly 
held Nonconformist principles. To this he added a frank and hearty 
relish for the good things of this life. 

We may take him to have been much a man of his time. It was a 
comfortable, matter-of-fact age with common sense for its watchword, 
and science, sponsored by the great Newton, for its liveliest intellectual 
preoccupation; enthusiasm and mysticism for its liveliest aversions. 
We are, therefore, not surprised to read of Calamy that he shied away 
from anything quixotic, that in the conduct of public business his 
flair was for the feasible, the timely, the opportune. Study his auto 
biography, not published till nearly a century after his death, and you 
will learn with what aplomb he represented Nonconformity in the 
great world; how assiduously he cultivated the society of persons " of 
significance and distinction," as he calls them. Not that you are to 
write him down for a social hanger-on. So different a man as Bradbury 


would have agreed with him that it was highly important to the 
interests of Nonconformity that its leaders should be in with the right 
people. He might have admitted, he should have done so, that he 
could hardly have brought off his 1st of August master-stroke with all 
that dazzling eclat, had he not been on such familiar terms with my 
Lord of Sarum. Follow Calamy again, to read with what courtly tact 
he presented a handsomely bound copy of his book on the Doctrine of 
the Trinity, then the subject of heated controversy, to that stout 
defender of Trinitarian orthodoxy, King George I, to whom he had 
dedicated the work. Then go on to read how the author proffered 
copies of this volume to the little princesses, the King s grandchildren, 
and how charmingly they received the donor and his gifts. The story 
has a sequel a few days later, a gift of 50 from the Royal Bounty, to 
be taken presumably as a reminder of the promise Calamy had made 
to His Majesty s personal request that he would urge his brethren, 
the City ministers, to use their utmost influence to secure the return 
of the right candidates at the forthcoming parliamentary election. 
All this, and a good deal more of the same nature, its author relates 
with nai ve complacence in his revealing autobiography. 

From these scattered glimpses we may frame some idea what manner 
of man the leading Nonconformist divine of his day was. We may 
rank him among the highly intelligent, the highly successful of his 
kind; admirably attuned to his day and generation, understood by it, 
understanding of it; admirably qualified to serve it whether in print 
or in person; an effective and acceptable preacher, albeit his substance 
and his style show somewhat commonplace after the more massive 
thought and rugged eloquence of his predecessors; as a disputant, 
in a day when controversial ability counted for more than it does with 
us, he was well-versed in such of the points at issue as were within his 
chosen range; and when pens began to clash, he was always the cool, 
collected master of his temper and his subject. But at this length of 
time Calamy the astute ecclesiastic is a minor figure. Not so Calamy 
the historian. For us he is the chronicler of the Bartholomean sufferers, 
and the custodian of the name and fame of the greatest of them. For 
his achievement as their memorialist, and as the biographer of Richard 
Baxter, Calamy has every claim to the respect and gratitude of successive 
generations of readers, ourselves among them. 

And now to hazard the more ticklish venture of conjuring up a 
portrait of Dr. Walker. He was, from what we know helped out by 
what we conjecture, a man of markedly different character from his 
Nonconformist opposite; he had not Calamy s robust health and 
" enjoying nature," nor the confident air of the successful man of the 
world. His health was poor. More than once he was seriously ill; 
lung-trouble, we may suspect. Add to which, he impaired his eyesight 


with working by candle-light on his magnum opus. As to what manner 
of face and figure he bore we are at a loss to say; for whereas several 
portraits of Dr. Calamy have come down to us, displaying him hand 
somely bewigged and begowned, so that we almost involuntarily 
exclaim what an imposing bishop he would have made, of Walker 
we have no likeness. It would, we may surmise, have required a good 
deal of artistic dexterity to turn out an impressive portrait of him. 
For the rest, Walker left no autobiography, his life was too uneventful 
for that; no diary registering his day-to-day trivialities. We have not 
even his promised continuation of the Sufferings. No second volume 
was forthcoming, only bundles of papers, now in the Bodleian, along 
with draft-notes for the published folio, written in an often 
indecipherable network of scribbles and scrawls, which constitutes a 
psychological study in itself. We have, apart from a final document 
to be looked into later, little to go by for our portrait save the single 
volume and what it tells us directly, or for the most part indirectly, 
about its author. We must assume the style to be the man. 

It is not an attractive style, not a persuasive style. Walker is not 
so easy, so lucid, with his pen as Calamy. Add to this, he cumbers 
his pages, text and margin, with pettifogging pedantries, with diatribes 
and, of course, with repetitions he is nothing if not a repeater , all 
of which defects are apt to become rather tiresome. Even when we 
discern him to have to his credit qualities of sterling honesty and 
industry, he makes such a parade of them that we could wish his 
virtues less. We must take him as we find him; the style is the man. 
Yet perhaps not the whole man; the apophthegm leaves something 
unsaid. We have all known people who are excellent company so 
long as they keep off their pet aversions or their pet theories or their 
pet reminiscences. So it may have been with Walker, when he laid 
down his rasping quill, when he relaxed into forgetfulness of the mis 
deeds of the Dissenters, and of the unscrupulous falsifications of 
Dr. Calamy in particular; perhaps then a modicum of sweetness and 
light took possession of him. Let us hope so, for his own sake, for 
the sake of those who had to live with him. Be that as it may, take the 
man as his book reveals him, deal out to him what hard names you 
will and he deserves a good many , call him wrong-headed, 
obscurantist, unbalanced, ungenerous, bad-tempered; and yet for 
all your denunciations somehow he holds your attention, somehow he 
interests you in what he has to say, somehow you find yourself grow 
to have a sneaking affection for the man behind the page. 

At least we cannot but admire his pluck in grappling with the 
enormity of his self-appointed task, a more exacting one than Calamy s. 
With what dogged fortitude he plodded on up his Hill Difficulty ! 
Despite his ill-health, despite the fact that research was then in its 


most beggarly rudiments, tiiat there was no miiioh Museum, no P:iblic 
Record Office, that archives, if accessible at all, which was by no means 
to be taken for granted, were all anyhow, that there were no catalogues, 
indexes, calendars, and but a scanty supply of standard books of 
reference in a word, that the whole outfit of aids which now spring up 
almost automatically to bear the scai\,iiv,i oii ~ ~" l*st he dash his 
foot against a stone, were to all intents and purposes non-existent; 
when we attempt to envisage " this state of meagre vassalage," why ! 
we cannot but honour the stout-hearted author who faced such odds. 
Even if we think him misguided in his endeavour to stiffen the backs 
of his fellow-churchmen against others of their fellow-christians, we 
cannot say it was done for filthy lucre or for vainglory. John Walker 
was an honest man in his loves and in his still more portentous hatreds. 

Or to put it in another way. If Gordon was right in asserting that 
Calamy would touch nothing quixotic, then Walker was his better. 
We can fancy a resemblance between the Knight of the Doleful 
Countenance and the obscure, but none the less intrepid, Rector of 
St. Mary More riding forth astride his unwieldy folio to break a lance 
for what he fondly named the best of Churches. And then a strange 
thing happened. The rider slipped from the back of his Rosinante 
and left her to take her chance on the historical highway. For when 
once Walker had got the Sufferings off his hands he was soon lost to 
sight. A doctorate from Oxford, not so hackneyed an honour as it has 
since become, a cathedral prebend from the Bishop of Exeter, a second 
rectory by presentation from a local magnate, these recognitions of his 
work and worth he received ; they were duly gazetted at their successive 
dates, and served as public reminders of Dr. Walker s standing. But 
after these notices he was no more in the news, nor wished to be. He 
preferred to cultivate obscurity. Indeed as his years advanced (he 
died in 1747 at the age of 73) obscurity seems to have had an almost 
morbid fascination for Walker. In his will he directed that no memorial 
should be placed on his grave, not so much as his name inscribed on it. 
This in an age so ardently addicted to " the storied urn or animated 
bust " ! At least a friend might have framed an epitaph, with a swell 
of sonorous Latin superlatives concerning the virtues of the deceased 
and his eminent services to the Church as the historian of its adversities. 
But no ! " Can flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death ? " John 
Walker knew how to reply to that question some years before Gray 
put it into circulation. His grave was to be nameless. More bewildering 
still, perhaps, he expressed a wish, common enough now, but at his 
date a flagrant defiance of universal custom. He hoped that none of 
his family would wear mourning for him, not so much as a shred of 
black. Then he summed up his wishes in a blunt sentence : " Let 
me be buried as cheap and as private as possible." Was this a final 


spasm of self-effacement ? or was it nothing more than mere 
parsimony ? Either way it is all very unconventional for a man of the 
testator s standing. Yet these caprices were in keeping with a characteris 
tic streak in his contemporaries. The age, however loudly it might 
prate about common sense, was singularly rich in characters, in 
oddities of major magnitude. And it would appear that this strain was 
not unrepresented at Exeter, that the city had in Prebendary Walker 
at least one original, if on a minor scale, yet none the less an un 
mistakable eccentric. 

So much for these two eighteenth-century worthies, their personal 
characteristics and idiosyncrasies. What are we to say of them as 
historians ? for such they claimed to be, chroniclers of impartial and 
unimpeachable rectitude. But we, who have been enlightened with 
superior wisdom as to how history should be written, cannot admit 
them to have been under this head quite the good men they supposed 
themselves to be. Wishful thinking, in some form or other, is well- 
nigh inevitable in our handling of that all too malleable substance, 
the past. Calamy and Walker practised it like the rest of us. The 
question to be asked is, whether their, our, selective bias will stand up 
to cross-examination, and prove itself intellectually and morally 

Perhaps our two doughty doctors would not have been much 
disconcerted by the charge that they were controversialists. They 
might have replied that their subject was a controversy, one which 
had been carried to the length of civil war. That was true enough, 
and we may add that no other so violently explosive controversy 
has ever disrupted the peace of this country. Walker and Calamy 
were looking back to events which had happened some sixty years 
before, but which were far from having sunk below the horizon. The 
points of difference between the warring parties had not been fought 
to a conclusion, nor had they been transcended since. True, in the 
meantime they had been given a different setting; none the less they 
were still live issues in the politics of Church and State. For those 
two entities were then inseparably entangled. Men were political 
according to the form of their religion, and religious according to the 
colour of their politics. Such was the public for which our two 
controversialists wrote. 

We must, therefore, anticipate that they would read the history they 
treated of along certain accepted lines, that they would, for the practical 
purpose of producing the impression they desired to make, present 
that history in a simplified form. The actuality was of a much more 
mixed and complicated character than they gave their readers to suppose. 
The two writers were, over a large area of their respective works, the 
parts which aroused the most interest, occupied with sufferings and 


sufferers, with persecutors and persecuted, ejections and ejected. 
There were no doubt reasons for this. The ground had been largely 
chosen for them. Accounts of individual sufferers, Churchmen or 
Nonconformists, whom readers had known, or still knew, for a few of 
them were yet living, personal and local links, traditional reminiscences r 
the folklore of the subject, had an obvious and immediate appeal. 
Back of it loomed the perennial conundrum of party arithmetic ; on 
which side of the hedge was to be found the greater unhappiness of the 
greater number ? All this made much more attractive and easily 
intelligible reading than a wider, more detached, more dispassionate 
study of the subject would have done, even if any historian could have 
been found at that date capable of treating his material in such a spirit. 

All the same, it was far from being the whole story. To fasten 
upon a single line of criticism, applicable to Walker s book rather than 
to Calamy s : it was, of course, true that many ministers were ejected, 
but, on the other hand, many, perhaps more, were not ejected. For 
a variety of reasons, personal and local, they did not come under the 
Puritan ban. There was nothing in their past record to make them 
marked men, and in face of the prevailing dissensions of the Civil War 
and its aftermath they took up the non-committal attitude that was 
natural to them, were neither decisively for, nor decisively against, 
episcopacy or any other form of church-government then feasible. 
Not that they were an organized party with a formulated programme. 
They were just so many isolated individuals scattered up and down the 
country, often in small and ill-paid benefices. Men such as these 
lived in possession of their clerical appointments, and died in possession, 
and that was sometimes not until the Puritan episode had blown over, 
and the King and his bishops were once more in authority. 

Now it would be idle to pretend that men of this stamp exercised an 
edifying ministry judged by Puritan standards. Their preaching, 
perfunctory at the best and the pulpit was the fulcrum of the neo- 
religious propaganda was not calculated to wind up their parishioners 
to the spiritual altitudes of the Holy Utopia which was the Puritans 
vision of the brave new England. Then why not eject them ? The 
answer to that question was a second question : who were to take 
their places ? There the reformers were non-plussed. Already the 
problem of vacancies was assuming alarming proportions. At Norwich 
in 1646 out of the city s total of thirty-six parish churches all but ten 
were pastorless. In London two years later forty parishes were in the 
same sorry plight. If what Bernard Manning called " the going 
concern," the routine machinery of church life, was to be maintained 
without more serious breakdown, then the present incumbents, 
unsatisfactory as some were, must continue to function. In course of 
time younger men offered themselves for ministerial service. When 


once the Universities had been purged of undesirable elements, it 
might be supposed that the younger generation would be suitably 
indoctrinated for their calling. Between 1654 and 1660 something 
like twelve hundred candidates were certified by the Board of Triers 
to have what Cromwell, adopting Job s phrase, described as the root 
of the matter in them, and this was without their being required to 
subscribe to one more than another of the several forms of churchman- 
ship that were then legal. None the less you will find, if you follow up 
their subsequent careers, that quite a proportion of these ostensibly 
well-grounded officiants conformed in 1662. 

If this had not been so, Calamy would have had more names to 
inscribe on his roll of honour. As it was, the irreconcilables were 
comparatively few. About seventeen hundred of his two thousand 
were beneficed, and there were close on ten thousand livings in England 
and Wales ! His remaining three hundred were lecturers, assistants 
or held academic posts. Nonconformity did not originate as a move 
ment of big battalions. " A few honest men are better than numbers," 
Cromwell once said in another context. He might have enforced his 
thesis with a reference to Gideon s three hundred chosen stalwarts, 
the prototype of all effective minorities. And of such were the first 

If, then, we are to view the scene as it was, we must bring into focus 
this rather motley company of ministers I have alluded to, the old 
stay-hard incumbents and the younger men with a leaning to episcopacy. 
We must, however, be on our guard against a too sweeping disparage 
ment of them. Among them were some of the Cambridge Platonists, 
Thomas Fuller too. Of the remainder it is only charitable, or perhaps 
just, to assume that they were not all time-servers, but that some of 
them did, in their fashion, voice the sentiments of the great John 
Hales, ejected from Eton, when he declared himself weary of this 
uncharitable world. They did genuinely regard the points of difference 
between the parties as of minor import, not fundamentals of the faith, 
and therefore not worth quarrelling over, not worth the sacrifice of 
their livings. That step might lead to the advent of an intruder of 
the new-light school, whose vagaries might alienate their parishioners 
from all religion. Therefore, the sitting incumbents chose rather, if 
possible, to keep their seats, to make not haste in the day of adversity, 
and let the times go over them. 

However that may have been, as a whole their stock did not stand 
high. Nevertheless, they were not without power of a sort. 
Negatively, their mere existence was a drag on the Puritan reform; 
witness the renewed attempt at a clerical purge in the 1650 s. More 
positively, they facilitated the swing-back to the old church order, 
when the tide turned. We must not scout the possibility that these 

1 2 


tame acquiescents, who, in the contemporary phrase, ran in with the 
times, achieved as much for the resurrection of Anglicanism as did 
their more heroic brethren who suffered deprivation. If we see in 
them yet another illustration of the Pauline paradox that the weak 
are chosen to confound the strong, it must be with the caveat that the 
Church of the Restoration was not a good advertisement for this form 
of resuscitation. It is safer to take lower, secular, ground and to 
pronounce them a confirmation of the maxim of which political 
wiseacres deliver themselves at election times the non-party vote 
decides the poll. 

Be that as it may, the unejected, I submit, have not received the 
attention they are entitled to. Walker practically ignored them; 
Calamy saw no reason to mention them; and later historians, despite 
their freedom from earlier controversial bias, have studiously overlooked 
them. After a generation or two an anonymous man of genius im 
mortalized the subsequent representatives of this fluid school of church 
men in the Vicar of Bray, who shared with a more eminent and more 
outrageous figure of fun the opinion that " the better part of valour 
is discretion." But no one did anything for the earlier vicars. No one 
wrote a book about them or indeed could. They do not lend themselves 
to literary treatment, to being written up. Of the ejected, whichever 
their side, you may make a martyrology, a hagiology. But of the 
unejected No, there is nothing in their record to " point a moral, or 
adorn a tale "; nothing that makes for edification or spiritual uplift; 
no party capital is accruing from it. In the day when honours were 
awarded there were no decorations pinned on their coats; no medal 
from Dr. Walker, no riband from Dr. Calamy. They were pretty 
much unnoticed in their lifetime, and after death no one had any 
interest to serve in perpetuating their memories. But history has its 
own interest to serve, and its representatives should by now have 
called for the evidence concerning them to be produced. Perhaps you 
have begun to suspect me of exaggeration. Were these men, you 
are wondering, so numerous, so important, as I have suggested ? 
Then it is open to me, if my argument needs such aid, to grasp the 
nettle boldly, and to remind you that, seeing we have it on wisest 
authority that for everything there is a season, there must therefore 
be a season for exaggeration, and here is one. The case has by 
negligence gone so far into default that only by overstating it, only by 
going beyond what is true, can we arrive near the truth about it; at 
any rate only so can we force it into court for a judicial hearing. 

All of which is tantamount to saying that the history of English 
religious life during the Interregnum has yet to be written, has yet to 
find its historian. Perhaps he is here this afternoon. Then let me 
respectfully urge him to give his most careful consideration to this 


question of the unejected. Our man of destiny has much spade work 
to do on what will be only one chapter of his magnum opus. He must 
compile an exhaustive liber cleri, a Crockford call it, accounting for 
every parish in the land, and every incumbent of the period, showing 
how he fared under the Troubles. A good deal of the material is 
already in print, much of it has yet to be unearthed, some of it will be 
found, after diligent search, and only after that, to have gone to earth 
beyond hope of recovery. Perhaps in the long- deferred upshot our 
second Knight of the Doleful Countenance will mop his brow and 
indignantly accuse me of having sprung a mare s nest on him. Well, 
that is a charge that has been brought against better men than myself, 
ft was brought by Dr. Calamy against Dr. Walker, and by Dr. Walker 
apainst Dr. Calamy, all those many years ago. And I should rely on 
ha ;>ng the sympathy of one or other of them, perhaps of both. If, on 
the^other hand, having assembled and digested all his data, our man 
o f jil gives it as his considered judgment that the unejected ministers 
wt;e in fact of the cumulative importance I have suggested, he will 
not feel under obligation, any more than I do, to sing their praises, 
to hold them up to his readers to admire and to imitate. Should he 
frame an epitaph for them it might be to the effect that, in the worst of 
times, these men were faithful to the Englishman s inveterate belief 
that the religion of all sensible men is always one of compromise. 
That is all. 


The Controversy concerning Free 

Admission to the Lord s Supper 


WHO may be admitted to the Lord s Table ? The question 
was the subject of bitter controversy during the sixth decade 
of the 17th century. That controversy is of more than 
academic interest, for Free Churchmen today are still by no means 
agreed as to the right answer to the question, and in Congregationalism 
there is considerable variety of practice. Is the Lord s Table to be 
" spread like a Table in an Inne for all comers," as Hezekiah Woodward 
put it ? Or should there be a " Barre against Free Admission " ? 
That was the problem we still differ as to the right answer. 

Even before 1652, Puritan writers had concerned themselves with 
this question, but in that year it became especially prominent by 
reason of the publication of two sermons, 1 by John Humfrey (or 
Humphrey), minister of Frome in Somerset. 2 Humfrey belonged to 
that school of Puritans whose desire it was to reform the Church from 
within. (Alexander Gordon in the D.N.B. notes that he adhered to 
the monarchy, and never joined any presbyteral association). After 
the Restoration he at first accepted re-ordination, at the hands of 
William Piers, Bishop of Wells, but later he rejected it, and was a 
victim of the 1662 Ejection. Later he gathered a Congregational 
church, which met first in Duke s Place, London, and afterwards 
in Petticoat Lane, Whitechapel. Despite this action, however, he 
was not a separatist at heart. He was noted for the moderation of his 
views, and, despite the controversy which the publication of his 
sermons aroused, he was no controversialist by nature. John Sharp, 
Archbishop of York, in a letter, said that he " was, though a Non 
conformist minister, a Conformist parishioner." 3 

It was Humfrey s practice, in regard to the Lord s Supper, to admit 
communicants without previous examination, and it was this practice 
which he sought to defend in the two sermons already noted. Like 
all writers of the period, he supported his arguments with a wealth 
of Scriptural evidence (drawn from sources as different as Chronicles 
and Corinthians). As his starting point he took the words of Alar k xiv, 23 

1 An Humble Vindication of a Free Admission unto the Lord s Supper (1652). 

a (1621-1719) cf. Diet. Nat. Biog., s.v.; Calamy Revised, ed. A. G. Matthews, (hereafter 

C.R.), s.v. 
> cf. C.R., s.v. 



(" and they all dranke of it "). He argues, " I do not believe that any, 
unless first excommunicated (ipso jure or de facto), ought to be refused 
the participation of this Sacrament." 4 For proof Humfrey cited the 
Passover, of which all the Israelites (unless ceremonially unclean) 
might partake, indeed, were bound to partake. In addition, he used 
the words of Paul (/ Cor. x, 17, " For we are all partakers of that one 
bread ") to buttress his argument. 

It was not mere right to partake with which Humfrey was concerned- 
He argued that it was the duty of all Christians to sit at the Lord s 
Table. Thus he asserts, " I hold thus; It is the duty of all church 
members of age to frequent the Sacrament. A man must examine 
himself and so eat, he must come and come worthily. If he be not 
worthy, that will not excuse him from his duty." 5 

In Humfrey s view it was church membership itself which gave 
right to the Communion. This fact was not always recognised by 
his opponents, who accused him of opening the way to the Table 
for such as " Turks and heathens." In his Rejoynder to Mr. Drake, 
this charge is clearly refuted. " He " (i.e. Drake) " urges Then 
should heathen be admitted ? Ans. : And so they may, if they 
come in an orderly way, / Cor. xiv, 40, they must first have a right by 
church membership, and then, being once within the church, they 
are alike admitted to all privileges." 6 Humfrey s objection was directed 
against his opponents attempt to distinguish between worthy members 
who might partake and unworthy members who should be excluded. 

Humfrey defended his own practice as being in accordance with the 
nature of the Sacraments. " The Sacraments are Verbum visibile, a 
visible Gospell; A declaring of Christ crucified; . . . that is, the 
Sacraments set forth Christ to the eye, as the Gospell does to the ear, 
. . . and therefore the same latitude must be granted to them both in 
their administration." 7 They are " necessary appendices of the 
Gospell." 8 He could not see how it was possible to justify the 
exclusion from the Table of those who, as church members, had the 
right to all other privileges of membership. 

In opposition to the extreme rigorists, he maintained tha the visible 
Church was in fact a mixed Church, consisting of " Saints by calling, 
whatsoever they are in truth," 9 and that it was impossible for man to 
separate the wheat from the tares, which separation must await the 
Day of Judgement. In fact, as Humfrey acutely suggested, those who 
would put A Boundary to the Holy Mount might well be guilty of a 

An Humble Vindication, p.4. 

A Rejoynder to Mr. Drake (1654), Preface. 

ib., p. 54. 

An Humble Vindication, pp. llf. 

ib., p. 15. 

ib., p. 17. 

1 2 * 


form of Pharisaism in turning away poor sinners from the Table. 
" For my part I must professe the serious acknowledgment of mine 
owne vilenesse, makes me afraid at heart to turne away others." 10 
This was Humfrey s own feeling in regard to this matter, and there 
is something of real attractiveness in his humility, as there is also in a 
further comment of his; " O sweet Jesus, did st thou alive offer thy 
self and company to the veryest Publicans, and never castedst out any 
that came to thee, and shall we take stomach that thou art now thus 
offered at this Sacrament." 11 

His practice was to exclude only " Those that are uncapable, are 
so, either by Nature, as Infants and Distracted persons, or by the 
Churches censure of Excommunication, and no others." 12 This 
exclusion he justified on the grounds that such persons are incapable 
of examining themselves (an essential pre-condition of admission), 
and incapable of discerning the Lord s Body (an essential condition of 
receiving benefit from the Sacrament). Apart from these exceptions, 
Humfrey maintained that all church members should be admitted 
to the Table. 

These sermons were quickly and vigorously answered by Roger 
Drake, 13 rector of St. Peter Cheap, London, in a book entitled, 
A Boundary to the Holy Mount, or a Barre against Free Admission to 
the Lord s Supper (1652). Drake, a native of Somerset, 14 trained first 
as a physician at Cambridge, Leyden, and the College of Physicians 
he was " the enlightened advocate of Harveian views." But in 1646 
he entered the ministry and quickly showed himself a rigid 
Presbyterian in both theology and church polity. He was elected a 
Commissioner at the Savoy Conference, 1661, but did not attend. 
Richard Baxter called him a wonder of humility and sincerity one 
would hardly expect tolerance in addition at that period ! Like 
Humfrey, he revelled in Scriptural quotations, and his books are 
packed with strange exegesis. 

As the text for his attack on Humfrey s position he used // Chronicles 
xxiii, 19 (" And he set porters at the gates of the house of the Lord, that 
none which was unclean in any thing should enter in "). He argues, 
" It is not simple membership gives an immediate right to the Lord s 
Supper . . a priviledge not for every Church member, but for a 
visibly worthy Church member." 18 His own practice was to examine 
members before they approached the Table. " Profession, if joyned 
with sufficiency of knowledge in fundamentals and suitable practice 

*., p.22. 

" ib., p.21. 

" i6.,p.3. 

i j (16081669) cf. D.N.B., s.v. ; C.R., s.v. 

14 Somerset and Gloucestershire seem to have been centres of " Free Admission 

15 A Boundary to the Holy Mount, p.85. 


in conversation, at least negatively, that there be no evidence against 
a person, as living after conviction in a known sin; this is the rule we 
walk by in admission to the sacraments; " " No unregenerate 
person ought to receive the Lord s Supper," 17 he asserts; but, he 
goes on, "I entreat the Reader to note that though with us, the rule of 
receiving be real worthiness, yet the rule of admission is visible worthi 
ness, which consists in competent knowledge, profession of piety, and 
immunity from scandal." 18 In other words, he recognised that the 
church could not judge the real worthiness of professing Christians 
(i.e. it could not exclude "close hypocrites"); it was possible to 
judge only outward worthiness. He strongly asserted that the church s 
duty was to save the Table from being profaned by the visibly unworthy. 

In defence of their respective points of view, both Humfrey and 
Drake (and other participants in the controversy) argued at length the 
case of Judas. Did Judas actually partake of the Last Supper ? Did 
he leave the Upper Room before or after the actual communion ? 
Humfrey emphatically declared that he did partake, and this Drake 
equally emphatically denied. Not content with his argument, however, 
the latter maintained that, even if Judas did partake, the fact provided 
no argument for Free Admission. He had not then in fact betrayed 
Jesus, and was thus not visibly unworthy. * 

Drake saw in his opponent s principles and practice two errors of 
profound importance. These had to do with church discipline, and 
with the nature of the Sacrament itself. In regard to the first matter 
he suggests, " Doth he not in this deal with the Church as some 
Anabaptists deal with the State, take away the Sword of Government, 
and so make a fair bridge for universal Toleration ? " 20 "I wonder 
this man doth not now condemn the civill Magistrate for executing 
adulterers . . . etc., which Christ and his Apostles would not, / 
Cor. v, 1,6,9,11, . . . Shall not man do justice, because Christ shews 
mercy ? " 2I Drake believed strongly in the " power of the Keys ", 
though he admitted that only a properly appointed body of minister 
and elders could exercise it. 

Humfrey, too, believed in church discipline, but he did not believe 
that it should be used " to sift this visible ecclesiastical body, into a 
spiritual invisible body . . . "; this " sieve ... is in the hands of God 

In regard to the nature of the sacrament, Drake maintained that 
it was not a " converting ordinance," but was meant only for confirma- 

ib., pp.72f. 

f The Bar against Free Admission to the Lord s Supper Fixed (1656), Preface. 
ib.. Preface. 

A Boundary to the Holy Mount, pp.5 ff. 
ib., p.62. 
* ib., p.69. 
A Second Vindication (1656), p.15. 


tion and edification of the Saints. Thus, the unregenerate had neither 
the right nor the duty to partake, because the feast would be meaningless 
to them. In one sense Humfrey agreed that it was not a converting 
ordinance, but he went on to distinguish two kinds of conversion. 
As his limitation of the sacrament to church members had shown, 
he did not regard the Lord s Supper as effectual for the outward 
conversion of the heathen; " But there is an inward effectuall con 
version of such as outwardly professe Christ to the truth of grace in 
their hearts." 23 In other words, unregenerate church members may 
be converted by partaking of the Lord s Supper. These could, 
Humfrey maintained, examine themselves and discern the Lord s 
Body, as against " Infants and Distracted Persons " who were 
incapable by nature of doing so. (This point was made in reply to 
Drake s frequent stress on his inconsistency in excluding any from 
the Table.) 

Drake was not the only writer to reply to Humfrey s sermons, 
while the latter was not without supporters. One figure stands out 
among the rest, ostensibly on Drake s side and a vigorous opponent 
of Free Admission, but, in actual fact, something of a mediator between 
the two extreme points of view. 

Anthony Palmer, 24 who became rector of Bourton-on-the-Water, 
Gloucestershire in 1646, was an Independent and one of the ministers 
ejected in 1662. He signed the Gloucestershire ministers Testimony 
in 1648, and six years later became assistant to the Gloucestershire 
Commission. He was present at the Savoy Conference of 1658. 
After his ejection he removed to London, and subsequently became 
pastor of a mixed congregation of Independents and Baptists, meeting 
at Pinner s Hall, Old Broad Street. 

Palmer was noted for his doctrinal tolerance. Indeed his refusal 
to exclude Baptists (who abounded in Gloucestershire) led some to 
suggest that he was " Anabaptistically inclined." In this matter of 
the Lord s Supper, he wrote as the representative of a group of 
preachers, who met weekly for discussion near Stow-on-the-Wold. 
The possible effects of Humfrey s sermons on Free Admission 
disturbed their minds; their reactions Palmer "digested" in his 
book A Scripture Rale to the Lord s Table (1653). 

In his preface Palmer noted that he had seen Drake s reply, of which 
he approved. In actual fact, however, this approval is not very notice 
able in the course of the argument, which reveals a considerable 
measure of real agreement with Humfrey s position. Palmer had 
failed to grasp that his opponent was defending not " pell-mell " 

23 An Humble Vindication, pp.59 f. 

2 (1618 P-1679) cf. D.N.B., s.v.; C.R., s.v. (Calamy gives 27 Oct. 1616 as the date of his 


admission of all, but only admission of church members who were 
not under sentence of excommunication ipso jure or de facto. 

Despite this initial misunderstanding of his opponent s position, 
Palmer s book is marked by much clear argument and sound scriptural 
exegesis and contains less fanciful interpretation than the writings of 
most other participants in this controversy. The author opens with a 
vigorous defence of Congregational polity and practice, in which he 
and Humfrey were in real disagreement. But in regard to the matter 
of admission to the Lord s Table, Palmer argues, "If he " (i.e. 
Humfrey) " means by excommunicated ipso jure, such as of right ought 
to be excommunicated by the Church, then the matter is ended."" 
In a sense that was perfectly true, but on closer examination it is 
possible to detect a cleavage that went deeper than this matter of 
practice a cleavage in regard to standards of church membership. 

Humfrey had used / Cor. x,17 (" for we are all partakers of that 
one bread "), to substantiate his theory. Palmer retorts, " True 
. . . But, Sir, were the Parochial Churches in England (though we deny 
them not to be churches in a large sense) so brought in ? Will you 
compare the obstinate ignorance of this age of people, to professing 
Saints at Corinth ? " 26 He knew all too well that the English parishes 
included large numbers of merely nominal Christians, Christians by 
baptism only. These regarded the communion as one of their natural 
rights; they had little or no understanding of its significance and 
often regarded it with something akin to superstition. " . . . there 
are we fear hundreds of Congregations, may we not say thousands ? 
which consist of little else " (i.e. than profane persons) " and yet, 
through custome, if they have not the Communion once a year, and 
so go to play in their best cloathes afterwards, they will think themselves 
greatly wronged." 27 " Church Discipline," Palmer goes on, "... 
excludeth them from the fellowship of the Saints, whose fellowship 
is chiefly in this ordinance, and therefore cal d the Communion . . ."" 

These words throw a new light upon the controversy. They reveal 
it in the setting of the contemporary church situation. Church 
membership (the term used by all parties) meant something different 
for the Separatist from what it did for the ordinary parishioner, or 
for his Puritan incumbent. Both Palmer and Humfrey were agreed 
that the communion was for members only, they differed as to what 
constituted membership. Palmer asserted that implicit profession 
(i.e. just coming to church), which was accepted by the exponents of 
" Free Admission," was not sufficient. He urged the necessity of 

28 A Scripture Rale, p. 27. 
* ib., p.31; cf. pp.!74f. 
" jfc.,pp.89f. 
* ib., p.90. 


" an explicite profession of repentence and faith, and confessing of 
Christ, and not denying this in the tenour of their conversations." 29 
Externally this may seem to resemble Drake s point of view, but in 
spirit it is very different; for, Palmer adds, " We do not plead for 
rigidness truly so called; Godly ministers invite the weakest to profess 
repentence and faith etc., and so to be received into Communion." 10 

Palmer regarded private reproof, examination and exhortation as a 
necessity. " We believe he " (i.e. the pastor) " is bound in this Corrup 
tion of times to call upon all to come and own the covenant of the Lord 
their God, and subjection to Christ, and to give up themselves to the 
Lord in a fellowship together, or else we humbly conceive he doth not 
the utmost of his duty." 3 (These words were written in reply to 
Humfrey s assertion that he did his utmost to ensure that men came 
worthily and prepared to the Table.) Palmer s conclusion was that it 
was desirable (N.B. not essential) to ask those who came to the Table 
to make verbal confession before partaking. 

Like Drake, Palmer stressed the fact that to partake unworthily of 
the elements was to be guilty of the Lord s body. " We are violators 
of charity and guilty of iniquity to suffer men to damn themselves 
with the Sacrament, which we might suspend from them."" This 
aspect of the question, though referred to by most of the controversial 
ists, seems not to have been among the most prominent. 

A man must examine himself; the pastor must ensure that he does, 
and, in view of the laxness of many churches, should ask him to make 
an explicit confession of faith. Such was Palmer s general position. 
Moreover, unlike the Presbyterian Drake, he regarded the local 
congregation as capable of all necessary disciplinary action. 

In 1654, John Timson, " a private Christian of Great Bowden in 
Leicestershire," 33 joined in the controversy. He roundly attacked 
both Drake and Palmer. " I conceive," he writes, " that the visible 
Church of Christ consists of persons regenerate and unregenerate, 
professing true religion, and their seed." 34 Taking the Passover as 
the type of the Lord s Supper, he showed that, as all Jews had both 
the right and the duty to partake, so all church members had the right 
and the duty to partake of the Lord s Supper. He claimed that there 
were in fact two types of church members; (a) adult converts 
(regenerate), and (b) children of such, baptized and (he claimed) 
coming naturally under Church obligation when they were of age. 

ib., p.78. 

o ib., p.73. 

ib., p.85. 

ib., p.132. 

" cf. title page of his book The Bar to Free Admission to the Lord s Supper Removed (1654) 

(There is no article on Timson in D.N.B.) 
" The Bar . . . Removed, p.30. 


This was precisely the position which Palmer had attacked, and which, 
implicitly, Humfrey held. It was, in fact, as already hinted, one of 
the fundamental points of difference underlying this controversy. 
Timson argued that it was possible to be a Christian by nature (i.e. 
born so) while Palmer (and Drake) maintained that conversion (or 
regeneration) was essential. 

A further point made by Timson (one with which both Drake and 
Humfrey agreed) was that discipline could not be exercised by the 
local congregation it depended upon the existence of the " proper " 
church machinery (i.e. assemblies and elders), which in turn was 
dependent upon the action of the civil government. " I must confesse," 
says Timson, " I utterly reject as impious and against all rule and order 
for the common members to claim an interest in the exercise of the 
keys, either of Doctrine, Sacraments or Discipline. " 3> " I cannot 
conceive how there should be any true discipline practised in our 
Churches without the speciall assistance, countenance and power of 
the civill Magistrate . . ." J6 It is clear, then, that, in practice, the 
problem of admission to the Lord s Table was not unconnected in 
some minds with the doctrine of the Church s relations with the State. 

Some ministers were accustomed to preach in the parish churches 
of which they were the incumbents, but in order to observe the 
Sacrament gathered congregations of " Saints by calling ". Daniel 
Cawdrey 37 in his Church Reformation Promoted (1657), states : " I 
knew an Independent Minister . . . that takes a very great Parish, to 
preach to them, and receives their maintenance, which is large enough, 
he preaches to them only in the morning, I suppose as a gifted brother, 
but not as their Pastour, administering neither Sacrament to them 
(for that he does in his own select Congregation in the afternoon)"" 

This practice came to the notice of Sir William Morice of Werrington, 
Devon. 39 Morice, a friend and (through his wife) a relative of General 
Monk, was elected M.P. for Devonshire in 1648, but he never sat, 
being excluded by Pride s Purge. He was re-elected in 1654, but 
still could not sit. In 1651 he became High Sheriff of Devonshire. 
" A scrupulous censor of orthodox divinity," he wrote a brief letter 
of reproof to Humphrey Saunders, a Devon minister who acted in 
the way described by Cawdrey. 

Morice s position was in general similar to that of John Humfrey. 
He argued that there was no pre-examination in the ancient church 
except for catechumens, and that explicit confession of faith, though 

ib., p. 159. 

ib., p.164. 

" (1588-1664) cf. D.N.B., s.v.; C.R., s.v. 

" Church Reformation Promoted, p.107. 

(1602-1676) cf. D.N.B., s.v. 


useful, was not essential. 40 With a wealth of classical and patristic 
evidence, Morice maintained that only the notoriously scandalous 
(and thus excommunicated) could be excluded from the Lord s Supper. 
" Between the proper examination of himself and eating and drinking 
no other thing intervenes," 41 he asserts, in answer to the claim that 
pastoral discipline should be exercised. 

He seized upon the words of / Cor. v,ll (" But now I have written 
unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a 
fornicator or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an 
extortioner; with such an one no not to eat "), which he called " the 
darling and champion text of the Separation " 42 (it had been used by 
both Drake and Palmer to prove that eating of the Lord s Supper 
with unworthy men was forbidden), and roundly asserted that it had 
nothing at all to do with the Lord s Table. The visible Church was 
inevitably a mixed assembly, for " to convert any to the Faith of 
Christ, though but externally, is to make him a Disciple, he that is 
baptised is a Disciple, and in this notion we grant, that none but 
Disciples may partake the Holy Supper, that is, none but Christians." 43 

Morice s original communication was private, but Saunders published 
it, together with a reply, to which he prefixed an answer to Humfrey s 
original sermons. 44 Saunders was rector of Holsworthy, Devon, from 
1632 to his ejection in 1662. He signed the Testimony in 1648, was 
assistant to the Devon Commissioners in 1654 and was a member of 
the Devon Association in the following year. Calamy says that he 
" disgusted some of the Gentry while he was in his living by not 
admitting them to the Sacrament." 45 

Saunders contribution to the controversy is in the main an echo of 
previous arguments, but it is interesting to note that, like Palmer 
(and unlike Drake), he states, " we can truly averre that we examine 
none, but such as well may be suspected of incompetent knowledge." 4 
He stoutly defended his practice of admitting only disciples (which, 
he said, followed Jesus own example at the Last Supper), adding, 
" we examine none that are taken to be disciples." 47 He quite frankly 
admits that " It is not in men s power to exclude hypocrites, or secret 
sinners, but open," 48 and suggests that Christ as God knew Judas 
crime, but as minister did not know it, and thus could not have excluded 
the traitor from the Last Supper. 

* cf. Ccena quasi Koine, pp.181-4 (for 161-4). (This book, first published in 1657, was 

enlarged and re-issued in 1660). 
ib., p.135. 
4 2 ib., p. 146. 
** 16., p.144. 
44 An Anti-Diatribe (1655). This book contains the text of Morice s original Diatribe, 

which appears in an enlarged form in his Ccena quasi Koine. 
4 * d. 1671, cf. C.R.,s.v. 
4 An Anti- Diatribe, p. 19. 
" ib., p.28. 
4 ib., p.29. 


Saunders, like Palmer, drew attention to the obvious differences 
between the church referred to by Paul in I Corinthians and the parish 
churches of England. Indeed there is a good deal of likeness between 
the two writers both in letter and in spirit. Speaking of the 
Presbyterians, Saunders says, " We think our brethren go beyond 
their warrant, while they take Saints of the first magnitude only into 
fellowship .... Where we see any measure of true godly fear, any 
degree of graciousnesse we gladly admit." 49 Yet he was a stickler for 
discipline, and asserts, " the Lord s Supper cannot be holily transacted 
by any, unlesse the scandalous be removed." 80 " While the Church 
is without enclosure, the Sacrament will need one very much."" 
The problem created for some by the absence of correct church 
discipline is here very evident. 

Morice sums up the position as between the upholders of Free 
Admission and the extreme exponents of exclusion in these words, 
They will admit none whose sanctity may be doubted, I allow only 
such to be rejected, whose crimes are notorious." 52 That puts the 
matter tersely, and, on the whole, accurately in so far as Drake and his 
supporters are concerned, but it does not do justice to the position of 
Palmer, outlined above. 

Thomas Fuller," the broad-minded, peaceloving and impartial 
(perhaps too impartial) " Chaplain in extraordinary " to Charles II 
at his Restoration, and the author of The Church History of Britain, 
who did not himself take part in this particular controversy, may be 
quoted as a moderate pleader for Free Admission. He agrees that 
" there are some places of Scripture which by proportion and con 
sequence do more than probably insinuate " S4 powers of exclusion from 
the Lord s Table. Further, he agrees that " Children, Mad-men, 
Idiots ... are not to be admitted to the Sacrament . . . because they 
cannot . . . examine themselves."" Likewise, " Persons actually or 
virtually excommunicated durante statu, are to be excluded the 
Sacrament. For we behold them as no members of the Church at all."" 
But, with quiet humour, Fuller maintains, " The black devil may, but 
the white devil never will be kept out of Christian Congregations." 87 
In connection with this impossibility of keeping away hypocrites, he 
vigorously denounces the view that the presence of unworthy partakers 
infects the rest. " The position is most false, that mixt Communions 

ib., p.93. 

50 ib., p. 169 . 

51 ib., p.217. 

sz Ccena quasi Koine, p. 85. 

" (1608-1661); cf.D.N.B.,s.v. 

54 A Triple Reconciler (I t>54), pp.Hf. 

ib., pp.lSf. 

ib., p.20. 

" ib., p.24. 


do infect."" He insisted on the need for examination prior to a first 
admission (thus agreeing with both Drake and Palmer), but argued 
that there should be no re-examination without an obvious cause. 

Such are the main strands of this complicated web of controversy. 
Though sometimes obscured by the spate of wordy bitterness, the 
importance of some of the truths at stake is evident. On the one hand, 
it was maintained that ministers ought to " admit all baptised persons 
of years, not excommunicated, to the Sacrament promiscuously, 
though ignorant and scandalous." 5 Such writers as John Humfrey 
and John Timson argued that ministers had neither the right nor 
the duty to judge the worthiness of those who would partake of the 
Lord s Supper; their duty was to invite all, having first warned them 
of the danger of unworthy observance. 

On the other hand, it was maintained that ministers ought to " exclude 
all from it, that are not at least visibly regenerate, though knowing people 
and of civill conversation." Roger Drake, for example, was quite 
convinced that it was both possible and necessary to preserve the 
sacrament from visibly unworthy participants. 

Midway between these two extremes was the position of Anthony 
Palmer and the Gloucestershire ministers whose spokesman he was. 
It is true that his practice was similar to that of Drake in that he 
recognised the need for examination; but if only the churches of 
England had been composed of members who were Christians by 
calling, and not just by birth, he would willingly have followed 
Humfrey s lead in admitting them to the Lord s Table, without 
further examination. 

In modern Congregationalism, candidates for church membership 
are usually, though not always, " examined " by the minister and by 
representatives of church meeting, prior to acceptance into membership 
with its privileges. Few churches follow up this initial " examination " 
in the way urged by Roger Drake and his friends, but this may be due 
not so much to theological objections as to the marked decline (or 
should it be " virtual absence " 3 ) of that discipline which was assumed 
and exercised by the 17th century church meeting. It may well be 
that our " Freedom of Admission to the Lord s Table " is the outcome, 
not of theological conviction, but of a low view of both the Church and 
the Sacrament. 

Though few would be prepared to follow Drake in setting up a 
" Boundary to the Holy Mount," in the sense of excluding " visibly 
unworthy " members, some, sympathizing with men like Palmer and 
Saunders in regard to standards of church membership, may rightly 


* D. Cawdrey, Church Reformation Promoted, pref. 



feel that often too little stress is laid upon the faith which alone enables 
us to partake of the Sacrament in spirit and in truth. 

Is there any warrant for the frequent practice of inviting to the 
Lord s Table those who are not members of the church, e.g. adherents, 
and those being prepared for membership ? Should it not be em 
phasized more strongly than is often the case that partaking of this 
sacrament is the duty, right, and privilege of those who, as members 
of Christ s Church are able to enjoy, in a real sense, communion 
with one another and with the Lord ? Richard Baxter maintained, 
Those without saving faith have no right to Sacraments "; though 
he went on to say, "If they claim them we may lawfully administer 
them." 61 

Writers like Palmer and Saunders have much to teach our generation 
in regard to church membership and the Holy Communion as one 
of its high privileges and duties. At the same time there is need to 
bear in mind the fact that the Church of the saints is the home of 
forgiven sinners. Thus any attempt to make visible worthiness a 
condition of certain church privileges must be unhesitatingly rejected. 
Some words of Palmer, already quoted, will find an echo in many 
hearts: " We do not plead for rigidness truly so called; Godly ministers 
invite the weakest to profess repentence and faith etc., and so to be 
received into Communion."* 2 


Certain Disputations of Right to Sacraments (1657), p.356. 
* A Scripture Rale, p.73. 

From the Guestwick Church Book 

FOR this paper I have selected from the Guestwick Church Book 
three outstanding instances of the support and counsel asked 
from and given to each other by tjie Congregational Churches 
in Norfolk, about the beginning of the 18th century. 

The Guestwick Church Book as a contemporary record dates from 
1694, but there are at the beginning brief summaries of the first two 

" The Church of Christ in and about Guestwick sate down in 
Gospel order in the latter end of the year 1652 and chose Mr. Richard 
Worts 1 for their pastor." This can be more definitely dated by the 
following extract from the Yarmouth Church Book, dated 5th 
September 1652 : " This day a letter was received from the Christians 
in at and near unto Guestwick of their intention to gather into Church 
fellowship upon the 20th day of October 1652. Bro. Timothy Norwich 
and Bro. George Steward desired as messengers to be present at the 
time of their gathering." Thus at the very outset is outlined the 
pattern of the co-operation between the churches which becomes 
clearer and more definite in the later entries. 

Between 1692 and 1732 the following churches are on record as 
" having invited the Minister of Guestwick and messengers from the 
Church, to witness their order in the Gospel and the setting apart of a 
Minister to the office of Pastor " : Yarmouth (3 times), Tunstead 
(3 times), Woodbridge, Beccles, Norwich, Bradfield (on becoming by 
agreement separate from Tunstead) and Wymondham (then spelt 

1. The first of the three instances, and the first related in much 
detail in the Guestwick Church Book, is that of the call of Mr. George 
Mills 2 to the pastorate at Guestwick in 1694. 

The church had suffered much from divisions since the death of 
Giles Say 3 in April 1692, so that their hopes rose high when Mr. Mills, 
a member of Miles Lane church, recommended by the elders in 
London, Mr. Lawrence and Mr. James, and by Mr. Stackhouse, 4 
the minister of the church in Norwich, came in July 1694 and preached 
with general acceptance. But he refused their pressing invitation and 
desired them " to write no more to him about that affair". The 
church was greatly concerned but considered though they were 

1 For notes of identification, see the end of this paper. 



" forbidden writing, yet not sending, otherwise", so two of the 
brethren went to London and thence to Chalfont, Bucks., where 
Mr. Mills was pastor, and effectively persuaded him to come. 

But it was not until November of the year following that letters 
were sent to Norwich, Wymondham, Tunstead, Yarmouth and 
Southrepps, inviting them to send messengers " to behold our order 
in the Gospel". It appears from the letter to Southrepps that that 
church was passing through a similar crisis of divisions. The church 
at Guestwick offers sisterly counsel to hold fast and seek a similar 
way out of their difficulties. 

2. Five years later, the church at Norwich (Old Meeting) was in 
difficulties arising from a dispute over the appointment of an assistant 
minister. Two names were before the church and the supporters 
of neither would give way. Pastors and messengers from eight 
neighbouring churches were invited by the minister and the majority 
party to meet in Norwich, which they did, and advised that both 
candidates should withdraw and another assistant should be agreed 
upon. The majority party reluctantly accepted this advice but the 
other party rejected it, and the dispute continued. A further meeting 
of pastors and messengers was held and the advice was given to the 
majority party to withdraw from their schismatic brethren, " and to 
renew their covenant engagements to the Lord and to one another". 

This advice was followed, and, according to a marginal note by 
Robert Drane," they continued to meet first under John Stackhouse 
and afterwards under Thomas Scott, 6 within the walls of Black- 
Friars Convent until they were able to return to the Old Meeting 
House in 1717. 

3. In 1729 the Guestwick church chose Joseph Astley 7 , for its 
minister, but it was not long before trouble arose in connection with 
his extravagant way of living. The matter was dealt with according 
to gospel teaching. One of the deacons first approached him privately, 
without effect. Both deacons then saw him together, with no better 
result. He was then asked to meet the church, but though he acknow 
ledged his faults he showed no sign of amendment. The church 
therefore asked the counsel and advice of neighbouring pastors and 
churches. This was that Mr. Astley was bound to satisfy the church 
that he was penitent, that in the meantime the church should take 
no drastic action, but that Mr. Astley should seek another charge. 
But the feeling against Mr. Astley was so strong that the members of 
the church and congregation would not attend services which he 
conducted, and he himself was so recalcitrant that, after resigning the 
pulpit, he conducted opposition services in the manse. He further 
repudiated the authority of the church, by disowning his membership. 
This was decisive evidence of impenitence, and on the advice, parti- 

1 3 


cularly of Mr. Scott of Norwich, and Mr. Coveney 8 of Oulton, the 
church proceeded to cast him out. Robert Drane records that Mr. 
Astley subsequently received episcopal ordination at the hands of the 
Bishop of Norwich. 

Two points in the letters of Mr. Scott are of interest. The meeting 
at which sentence was passed upon Mr. Astley was attended by 
brethren only, although they constituted only 35% of the membership, 
and it was held in a private house still licensed for preaching, although 
there had been a chapel in the village for at least forty years. Of more 
general interest is the opinion that the church, of its own authority, 
had power to reject Mr. Astley from membership, and from the 
pastorate, as it was from them that he had received both, but that they 
did not, and presumably could not, take from him the ministry for he 
was in it before ; yet they declared him to be unfit, without repentance, 
for membership in any church. The problem seems to have been 
unresolved then, as it is now, by what means, if any, an unworthy 
minister may be removed from being a minister. 


* * * 

I. The Induction of George Mills. 

1692. The church, being again destitute, fell into divisions 
occasioned by some who endeavoured to bring in one Mr. Hasbourd, 9 
the design of which others foreseeing would prove destruction to the 
church and interest of Christ among them, would by no means yield 
unto that motion, which occasioned great heats and divisions, yet the 
majority of the church kept up their assemblies, spent many hours in 
prayer to God for one to go in and out before them, and procured 
what helps and assistance they could from other hands to carry on the 
Lord s Day work amongst them. 

Then again the church made their application unto Mr. Laurence, 10 
Mr. James, 11 Mr. Mentz and others, the elders in London, for help 
and supply. After the mentioning of several which came to nothing, 
at last Mr. Lawrence and Mr. James sent to the church, signifying 
that they had in their thoughts fixed upon one, Mr. George Mills, 
whom they did judge fit and suitable for the church s circumstances 
and with whom they would use their interest to come down at the 
church s request. 

Accordingly, the church sent a letter to Mr. Lawrence and Mr. James, 
as likewise to Mr. Mills, desiring him to come down and give them a 
visit, and afterwards requested Mr. Stackhouse to discourse with him 
at London, in order thereunto which he accordingly did and about the 
latter end of July 1694, he came down and continued three or four 
Lord s Days whose work and service was to the general acceptance 
of the whole. 


To the Church of Christ at Norwich, the Church of Christ at 
Guestwick sendeth greeting in our Lord Jesus. 

Signifying the good hand of our God upon us (as we hope) in hearing 
our cries in the day of our distress and seeing our tears which were 
mingled with many fears (by reason of our divisions) that God would 
have broken up house and laid us waste, but we have experienced 
much of the goodness of God towards us in healing our breaches and 
adding to us both members and hearers, as also in sending one to go 
in and out before us and to take the care and oversight of us (which is 
Mr. Geo. Mills by name) and now a beloved brother with us, who is 
to be set apart to office work amongst us on the 6th November next, 
in which good work we earnestly desire your concurrence and 
assistance by appointing and sending such messengers as unto you 
shall seem meet to behold our order in the gospel. 

We rest, your brethren in the faith and fellowship of the gospel 
in the name of the whole Church. 

Sam Durrant "\ ^ 

T-J r> > Deacons 

Edw. Peartree / 

Wymondham Tunstead Denton Yarmouth. 

To the Church of Christ in and about Southrepps, the Church of 
Christ in and about Guestwick sendeth greetings in our Lord Jesus 

Signifying the good hand of our God upon us in hearing our cries 
and seeing our tears in the day of our distress, which have mingled with 
many fears (by reason of our divisions) that God would have broken 
up house, and have left us desolate, but God whose mercy endures for 
ever, was graciously pleased to remember us in our low estate and in 
healing of our breaches hath already added several members to us as 
also many hearers who daily attend upon the ministration of the gospel 
amongst us, which cannot but fill our hearts with wonderment and our 
lips with praises for so great a mercy, nor can we forbear taking hold 
of this opportunity to signify our tender sympathy with you, and if it 
might be to provoke you to emulation in pressing you to importune 
the Father of mercy and Lord of the harvest for bestowing the like 
favours; he has mercy in store, and is greatly delighted with the 
importunity of his children for the bestowment of it; but (alas !) 
though it be a day of great liberty yet there s too much ground to fear 
that it is also a day of great security upon churches and professors; 
(dear brethren) have a care of negligence by an increase of which you 
may lose again your little strength and dwindle your light; look to the 
matters of Christ s house in your hand; he cannot, he will not take 
it well at the hands of those churches who shall suffer the affairs of his 
house to run to ruin without hearty endeavours to repair the breaches ; 

1 3 * 


we do a little wonder how churches can satisfy themselves with one 
breast when God has provided two. We hope you will bear with and 
pardon our plainness ; tis the honour of Christ and love to your souls 
with desires of the flourishing of the cause of Christ in your hands 
that causes us to take the liberty thus to speak. These are further to 
let you know that the 6th day of November next is concluded upon 
for the setting apart of Mr. Geo. Mills (who is now a beloved brother 
with us) to the office and work of pastor among us, in which good work 
we desire your concurrence by appointing and sending such messengers 
as unto you shall seem meet to behold our order in the gospel. 

We rest, 

your brethren in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, 
subscribed in the name of the whole Church 

Sam Durrani \ Deacons 

Edw. Peartree / 

On the 6th of November was a general and solemn meeting for the 
setting apart of Mr. Mills to the office of pastor amongst us. The 
messengers of the several churches met together at Mr. Mills s in the 
morning where it was agreed upon how the work of the day should be 

The names of the pastors and other ministers that were present that 
day were Mr. John Stackhouse, Pastor, Norwich; Mr. John Green, 11 
Pastor, Tunstall ; Mr. Wright" Minister and assistant at Yarmouth; 
Mr. Killinghall, 14 Minister, Beccles; Mr. Thos. Worts, 15 Mr. John 
Hammond, 16 Mr. John Asty, 17 preachers of the gospel. Mr. Green 
began, opening the occasion of the meeting, and the work of the day, 
then prayed, after which he desired the church to signify their calling 
of Mr. Mills to office work by holding up or stretching forth of their 
hands, which accordingly they did, unto which call Mr. Mills returned 
the following answer. 

[This is given in full in the Church Book] 

Then Mr. Green proposed to the church whether they would submit 
unto him whom they had now chosen in all things in the Lord, which 
accordingly the church did again promise or signify by lifting up of 
their hands; then Mr. John Stackhouse prayed, afterwards preached 
an excellent sermon from the 3rd Chapter of Jeremiah and the 15th 
verse. " I will give them pastors after my own heart who shall feed 
them with knowledge and understanding." After sermon was done, 
Mr. Green prayed again, and Mr. Mills concluded the work of the 
day with prayer. 

# * * 

II. A Division in the Church at Norwich. 

1699. In this year there arose a difference and a division in the 
church at Norwich, about one Mr. Geo. Smith whom some of the 


brethren would have called to be an assistant to the Rev. Mr. Stackhouse, 
but others (and the most) were dissatisfied both with his doctrine and 
discipline, that his doctrine was Arminian and his discipline 
Presbyterian, upon which such heats and contentions did arise, as 
could not be allayed and composed among themselves. Upon which, 
the Rev. pastor with the majority of the brethren agreed to call in the 
help and assistance of the pastors and messengers of neighbouring 
churches for their advice and counsel in order to compose the difference, 
and accordingly the following letter was sent and directed to the several 
pastors and churches. 

To the Reverend Mr. George Mills and the Church of Christ at 
Guestwick, whereof he is pastor. 

Dearly beloved and honoured brethren in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The strife and divisions wherewith our poor church hath been long 
exercised are a great grief of heart to us and we trust that you are not 
unaffected with the report that you have had thereof. We can obtain 
no healing of our divisions among ourselves and need that sister 
churches should help us with their advice which we trust that your love 
to Christ and his gospel, and your desire of the peace and prosperity 
of the Churches of Christ, will incline you willingly to give unto us. 
We therefore desire and pray that the Reverend Pastor and such 
messengers as you shall think fit to send, may meet the elders and 
messengers of other churches in Norfolk, on the 8th day of August 
next in this our City of Norwich, that you may have a full account of the 
whole matter truly and distinctly laid before you and may consider of it 
and give us faithful advice and counsel about it, if peradventure God 
may shew mercy to us and bless your advice to our church that it may 
be a means of restoring to us peace and order which we humbly beg 
of the God of Peace. 

Signed at the desire of above half the brethren 
Norwich July 22 1699. by John Stackhouse, Pastor. 

This letter was read to the church, and the two messengers agreed 
upon to be sent with the pastor were the two deacons, Samuel Durrant 
and Edward Peartree, who according to appointment met the rest of the 
pastors and messengers at Norwich Meeting House, on the 8th August, 
where after a hearing on both sides, the advice given was that they 
should part both with Mr. Will Noaks 1 * and Mr. Geo. Smith," and 
agree upon another to assist Mr. Stackhouse. In compliance with which, 
Mr. Noaks friends, though sorely troubled, consented to part with 
him for peace sake, but the other party would not part with Mr. Smith, 
though his continuance is like to prove the ruin and breach of that 
once famous church. 


1701. The Church at Norwich to the Church at Guestwick, and 
seven others. [Extracts] 

We have desired and obtained and been willing to follow the advice 
of neighbour churches by their elders and messengers, but they who 
have went from us, refused, and when the elders of neighbouring 
churches did write a letter to press us to put their advice into execution 
speedily, yet still they refused. We have lately offered to them that 
we are willing to have the advice upon the whole matter of any 
Congregational elders in England, indifferently chosen, the one half 
by them, and the other half by us, but they rejected the proposal, 
calling it a project that gives a sad prospect of confusion not of union, 
giving this reason because we will not be for keeping Mr. Smith. We 
have endeavoured by letters to convince them of their schism and 
covenant breaking, and of many other sins whereby they have greatly 
offended. As to the charge of schism, they positively deny it and 
recriminate that we are guilty of it because we will not have Mr. Smith, 
whom they would impose upon us. 

* * * 

The only way that we can see to be left to us is to withdraw from 
them until they repent according to 2 Thess. iii, 6, Rom. xvi, 17 and 
afterwards to renew our holy covenant and that we may not mistake 
in the manner of our doing it we humbly and earnestly desire your 
plain and full answer to this question. 

Whether in our calling church meetings to consult of the proper way 
and means of our returning to gospel order, we are obliged to own them 
as members with us who have broke covenant with us and made an 
open and notorious schism in and from the church, and have aggravated 
it by many unchristian carriages, and, whether it be proper and 
necessary for us to take any further notice of them than to declare that 
we withdraw from them until they repent and to send them a written 
copy of our declaration. 

1701. The Church at Guestwick to the Church at Norwich. 

Now our thought as to this is that as the case stands with you, it 
is not advisable to call these brethren before the church, there to charge 
them with breach of covenant, and the rent and schism which they 
have made, for seeing that most of them have turned their backs upon 
and declined the ministry of Christ in the church and your church 
assemblies, and in practice (at least) have gone off from the principles 
owned and professed in all Congregational churches, we think they 
have virtually cut themselves off from the church of which they are 
members and that no more is necessary for you to do, but to pursue 
the Apostle s advice to the church of the Thessalonians 2, iii, 6 with 


that in Rom. xvi, 17, to withdraw yourselves from them as disorderly 
persons and with as much mildness and moderation as the case will 
possibly bear, declare your resolutions to them, of such a withdrawment 
until they repent and that you appoint a day for solemn prayer to 
humble yourselves before the Lord for those sins which are or have 
been even amongst you, for the which God has made so great a breach 
upon you, and to renew your covenant engagements to the Lord 
and to one another. 

But yet we would further propose to your consideration what we 
think may be expedient, and that is that if your purpose and intention 
were made known to them, or at least to some of the more moderate 
among them, with entreaties that they would not persist in their way 
and course, hut return to their place and duty, else you must proceed to 
withdraw from them, it may be a means to reclaim and recall some of 
them. However by this, their mouths will be stopped, and you the 
more fully justified in your proceedings. 

1702. About 25th March 1702, the Rev. Mr. Stackhouse sent a 
letter signed by several of the brethren of that church to the pastor 
Mr. Mills, to desire him to assist at a solemn meeting appointed by 
them on the 31st of the month for humiliation and renewing their 
covenant with the Lord and one another, after they had withdrawn 
from several of those who had made a schism pursuant to the advice 
given by several churches. 

The work of the day was managed as follows : . . 

Mr. Stackhouse opened the occasion of the meeting and then prayed. 
Mr. Mills preached a suitable sermon to the occasion from 2 Chron. 
xxix, 10, about the renewing of their covenant, wherein the nature 
necessity and manner of the duty was opened and applied. Then 
Mr. Green prayed, and after him Mr. Bert 20 preached from 1 Cor. vi, 1. 
After him, Mr. Hurrion 21 prayed. Then they renewed their covenant, 
and each of the four pastors then present signified their approbation of 
their proceeding, and gave them the right hand of fellowship. Then 
Mr. Stackhouse concluded with prayer. In which meeting there was 
much of the presence of God discovered and thus this poor church 
which had once been flourishing but wasted and torn with division 
and schism, came once more to a settlement, which the Lord continue. 

* * * 
III. The Case of Joseph Astley. 

1731. The following letter was sent with a copy of the charge to 
several churches viz.: to the Church of Christ at Norwich, Yarmouth, 
Denton, Bradfield and Oughton (Oulton ?) with the church s request 
that their pastors and messengers might meet at Mr. Scott s at Norwich 
on 3rd November to give them their advice and judgement thereon. 


The Church of Christ at Guestwick to the Church of Christ at 
Norwich wisheth grace mercy and peace. 
Honoured and beloved Brethren. 

Whereas all churches walking in the same order and fellowship of 
the gospel are mutually debtors to each other for their advice and counsel 
in cases of difficulty, we humbly beg this debt of you for your advice 
and counsel in an extraordinary case which has happened with us, 
namely, the disorderly walk of our pastor, with whom the previous 
process in and by private and public admonition as stated in Matt, x 
has been duly observed as will appear to you by the charge brought 
against him by us, a copy of which you have enclosed as also a copy of 
his answer to the same; which was not satisfactory to us because we 
judged it to be inconsistent with the glory of God and honour of the 
church for us to accept of a bare confession of the fault though for the 
present he seemed to express some degree of sorrow for his crime. 
We therefore insisted upon further satisfaction, and particularly upon 
two things as prerequisite thereunto, namely, the payment of all his 
just debts and some visible signs of repentance for his crime. In 
order to his accomplishing the former, he proposed taking a journey 
to his father s, hoping to raise such a sum of money as would pay them 
and accordingly proceeded thereon, and, at his return, being asked 
what success he had, he replied that he should answer that question 
only by asking another, so that he has refused to give the church any 
satisfaction that way, neither have there appeared any signs of repentance 
for his crime. 

These things appear to us to be a plain discovery of the insincerity 
of his professed subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ which was the 
ground and reason of his being admitted into that relation which he 
appears now to have forfeited so that he is deemed by us unworthy of 
the office of a pastor and also of the privileges which he was admitted 
to partake of as a member. But we being desirous to have better 
judgements in the case than our own, we refer it to your consideration 
desiring your advice and judgement therein. 

We are, in the name of the whole Church 
Your brethren in Christ. 
Ben Seel 
Jn. Armor 

According to appointment the pastors and messengers of the several 
churches met on 3rd November at the Rev. Mr. Scott s at Norwich and 
Mr. Astley also where four of our brethren gave their attendance also, 
who in a little time after being there received a message from Mr. Astley 
by Rev. Mr. Scott to request that they would admit Rev. Mr. Finch" 
and Mr. Brooks" into the assembly which was granted him, after 
which the brethren were sent for upstairs into Mr. Scott s study where 

> Deacons 


the ministers were assembled, and a lawyer which Mr. Astley had 
brought with him to manage his affair (a piece of conduct in an affair 
of this nature which wants precedent). 

The next morning the following advices were drawn up by the 
ministers and delivered to the brethren and a counterpart to Mr. Astley. 
We the pastors of churches who have been desired to give our 
advice in relation to the affairs of the Church of Christ in Guestwick 
think that Mr. Astley has grievously sinned in the particulars included 
in it and confessed by himself and that he is obliged to convince the 
offended church, by his care to pay his debts, and by the frugality of 
his expenses and by his whole deportment, that he is a penitent man, 
without which, the public admonition ought to take effect. 

If his future conduct be agreeable to his profession of repentance 
we, out of compassion to the said Mr. Astley and his family, think that 
the church would do well (and we earnestly advise it) to continue him 
amongst them until next Lady Day, and do their utmost for his sub 
sistence till then, that he be not distressed either by a diminution of 
his salary or an immediate parting. 

Out of the same spirit of tenderness for the church whose interest 
lies a bleeding under the unhappy miscarriages of the said Mr. Astley, 
we think he ought to improve this time in looking out for another place 
and not to stay any longer at Guestwick without the full satisfaction 
of the church. 

Peter Finch Ab. Coveney 

John Brooke Julius Sanders" 

Thos. Scott John Fletcher" 

[However, none of the church would hear Mr. Astley and few would 
contribute while he stayed, so three weeks later this further letter 
was written.] 

To Mr. Seel and Mr. Armor, Deacons of the Church of Christ at 

Mr. Astley has declared himself a friend to the peace of your 
community and as he is sensible that your resentment of his conduct 
runs so high as to allow no prospect of a coalescence, rather than that 
you should suffer by his keeping the pulpit, is willing to resign it to 
such as you think proper to employ, provided you are willing to pay 
him till Lady Day without deduction or give him twenty pounds at 
once which he rather chooses. This proposal we whose names are 
subscribed, approve of and advise you to. 
Witness our hands. 

Norwich Dec. 1. 1731 Peter Finch. 

John Brooke. 
Thomas Scott. 
Heydon Dec. 3. Abraham Coveney. 


Mr. Astley accepted the proposals and resigned the pulpit 
immediately and gave a note under his hand to quit the dwelling house 
at Lady Day, and on the Lords Day following began to preach at the 
dwelling house and continued so doing until Lady Day, and also began 
in a short time to revile reproach and falsely to accuse the church, and 
upon the 17th day of February he sent the following letter to the 
church at a church meeting upon the same day at Guestwick. 

To the people who call themselves the Church of Christ at Guestwick. 

Though I have been a member and pastor of your society, yet now 
being disengaged from the ministerial office amongst you, I cannot but 
judge it very improper to continue my relation to you as a brother and 
a member. 

Therefore I do hereby actually and publicly withdraw myself from 
all brotherhood and communion with you, disowning your care, watch 
and pretended authority over me, but at the same time, maintaining 
Christian charity towards you and all others who profess the name of the 
Lord Jesus Christ in truth and sincerity. 

In witness whereof I set my hand. 
Guestwick Feb. 17th 1732. Jo. Astley. 

[On receipt of this letter the deacons consulted Mr. Scott, Mr. 
Coveney and Mr. Fletcher, and two passages from Mr. Scott s replies 

1732. I must therefore declare, if after so long waiting you can 
perceive no positive tokens of repentance, the church ought to proceed 
agreeably to their admonition and especially if they can fasten on him 
any positive evidences of impenitence and I think that this letter 
would be no bar in the way. For at this rate, it is but any offender s 
renouncing his station in the church, and all church proceedings are 
at a stop, and the discipline of Jesus Christ is utterly defeated. This 
is so flagrant an absurdity that a greater can t easily be imagined. I 
conclude therefore that this renunciation by Mr. Astley does not make 
his membership void in such a circumstance especially as it is made 
plainly to shelter himself from the discipline of Jesus Christ and 
therefore your proceedings ought to be just as if no such renunciation 
had been made. Nay, as it ought not to prevent your going on so I 
can t but be of opinion it is a call to go on, for it is a plain mark of his 
non- repentance for what is past. He treats the church and its authority 
with contempt, and by a public overt act refuses to hear the church 
and you know the rule in that case in the 10 of Matthew so that upon 
the whole it is my judgement that Mr. Astley for the crimes for which 
you laid him under admonition and for any other positive marks of 
impenitence you may know he has given and for this undeniable one 
should be put out from among you. 


I do think as we ministers were not concerned in putting this man 
into the Ministry (for he was in it before) but only in ushering him 
into his office, imploring a blessing etc., I don t see but that the church 
may proceed without us. As indeed, to say the truth, they might in 
the other case, as with respect to office, they take not from him the 
ministry but pastorship, and then as to his membership which is the 
other part of the work of the day, there we have plainly nothing to do. 
I think, therefore there s nothing in the whole affair but what may be 
done by yourselves alone, and I d advise to have it done privately, 
none present but the church, and if you thought good, the brethren 
only, and in a private house, licensed; the sentence pronounced by a 
deacon after the vote of the church whereby after prayer and the 
suffrage, he declares solemnly the offences of the man and the rules 
broken, some passages concerning the qualifications of officers and 
members violated by his behaviour, and then declares the church s 
rejecting him from his office and relation purely for these crimes. I 
think indeed it would be too noisy to have the elders convened on the 
occasion, but you may if you please, mention the hearty approbation 
of neighbouring elders in relation to your proceedings. 

Agreeable to these advices, the church met on 22nd of March at a 
private house, none present but the brethren and proceeded against 
Mr. Astley in the following method. 

[A deacon addressed the meeting, summarizing the proceedings 
hitherto and concluding : ] 

Therefore, notwithstanding his renunciation of his membership 
which is plain was made to shelter himself from the discipline of Jesus 
Christ, it is necessary unto the church as to the discharge of its duty 
for his crimes and impenitence to proceed to the casting him out from 
amongst them, to the end they may preserve themselves pure, and 
whereas our Lord Jesus Christ when he gave unto his church the 
power of binding and loosing, directed them in the exercise of that 
power to ask assistance by prayer when they are gathered together. 
Matt, x, 10. We therefore shall proceed agreeable thereto with a 
solemn invocation of the name of Christ to ask his guidance and 
direction, to enquire his mind and will in the case, and to engage his 
presence and authority in what we do, that what is done on earth may 
be ratified in heaven by the approbation of Jesus Christ and be made 
effectual to its proper end. 

Then several of the brethren prayed after which the church voted 
Mr. Astley unworthy of the office of a pastor and also of his membership 
and then the deacon proceeded (concluding). 

We therefore according to the institution of Jesus Christ, and 
the power committed to us as a Church of Christ, do in the name 
and with the power of the Lord Jesus reject him, the said Mr. Joseph 


Astley, as an unworthy pastor and member and pronounce him cut 
off from the communion of this church, for his crimes which unfit 
him for the communion of any church in the world without repentance, 
and deliver him unto the world again according to the direction of the 
Holy Ghost. Matt, x, 17. 1 Cor. v, 4. 

Then one of the deacons concluded with prayer. 

Notes, kindly supplied by C. E. Surman. 

RICHARD WORTS, ej. Rector of Foulsham with Themelthorpe, NF. 1660 : V. of Guestwick 
in 1649/50 and pastor of Congregational Church there 1652-86, d. (CR, 547). 

* GEORGE MILLS, b. c. 1651 ; no regular education for ministry; supplying Staines, Middx. 
in 1690 (Gordon, 73,312); invited to Guestwick 1694, where ordained 6 Nov. 1695 : 
died minister there, 6 Dec., 1723, act. 72. Reputed to come to Guestwick from Chalfont, 
Bucks., but not noted by W. H. Summers as minister there, though there is a gap in 
pastoral succession. (Browne, 325). 

1 GILES SAY, ej. V. of St. Michael s, Southampton, where continued to preach : removed 
to London c. 1685, and on recommendation of the elders at London settled at Guest 
wick, Nov. 1687. Died April, 1692. (CR. 428, Gordon 347, Browne 325.) Father of 
Samuel, D.N.B. 

* JOHN STACKHOUSE, b. 1648/9, s. of Roger, of London, gent. New Inn Hall, Oxford, 
me. 1664. Lic.(C) at Greenwich, Kent, 1672; poss. supply at Castle Green, Bristol 
before 1688 (Caston, Indpcy. in Bristol, 56); In ye old Artillery preacheth with mr. 
Cockain, 1690 (Gordon, 4,263,358): Co-pastor with Martin Finch at Norwich 1691, 
and successor: secession under him in 1699; died 14 Sept., 1707. (Browne 266.) 

8 ROBERT DRANE, b. Dickleburgh, NF., 1798; Wymondley Academy; minister Briston 
and Guestwick 1824-72, when retired. Died Cardiff 25 Aug., 1877. (C. Y.B., 1878, 313 ; 
Browne, 327,617). 

THOMAS SCOTT, minister Back Street, Hitchin 1700-09 (Urwick, Herts., 650; Wilson 
iii. 175); Norwich 1709-46. Died 15 Nov., 1746. (Browne 267ff.) The death of Mr. 
Scott of Norwich touched me very nearly : I believe he was one of the holiest and most 
benevolent men upon the earth (Ph. Doddridge). Father of Thomas, minister Lowes- 
toft, Ipswich and Hapton, and of Dr. Joseph Nicol, asst. to his father 1727-37-. (G. 
E. Evans, Vestiges, 114). 

7 JOSEPH ASTLEY possibly man of those names entered in Evans MSS. as minister at 
Tadcaster and Clifford, Yorks c. 1717- ; asst. at York Buildings, Strand, London 1727-29 
(W. Wilson, iv. 19); Guestwick 1729-1732; discharged for irregularity and afterwards 
conformed : re-ordained by Bp. of Norwich. (Browne, 314,326; C. H.S.Trans., ii. 52). 

ABRAHAM COVENEY, educ. by Dr. Isaac Chauncy (DNB) ; adm. mem. of Cong. Church, 
Bury St. Edmunds, 11 March, 1709; Chaplain Armingland Hall, Norfolk 1709-24 
and first pastor of Cong. Church, Oulton 1724-72 (Church formed 4 March 1724/5 at 
Armingland, rem. to new meeting place at Oulton 7 April 1731.) ord. pastor 30 June, 
1725; died Dec. 1772, act. 86. Married one of the Fleetwood family. (Browne, 329fT.) 

HASBOURD probably JOHN HASBERT, stated by Calamy to be ejected at Norwich, for 
which A. G. Matthews finds no evidence (CR. 252), in 1690 was at East Dereham, with a 
newly erected meeting (Gordon, 74,75,280). Mr. Hasbord baptized child without 
incumbent s leave at Holt, NF. in Aug. 1700. I have heard that he was a very rouzing, 
awakening preacher (Browne, 593). Meeting-house at Dereham probably for 
Mattishall congregation. 

MR. LAWRENCE might be RICHARD LAWRENCE, ej. R. of Trunch, NF. 1660, subsequently 
pastor of congregation at Amsterdam, returning to England and becoming asst. to Matthew 
Mead at Stepney 1669, where preached until 1696. Two unsuccessful attempts to 
induce him to accept pastorate at Yarmouth in 1669 and 1687. Died 17 Nov., 1702. 
(CR. 318f; Gordon, 300.) 

11 MR. JAMES perhaps JOHN JAMES, ej. Lecturer, Newark, Notts, 1660, where imprisoned 
for six years. Removed to London and after a time became pastor to congregation in 
Wapping (where Rich. Lawrence, above, was also accustomed to preach). A Manager 
of the Common Fund, 1692, and an original Manager of the Congregational Fund, 1695 
Died 1696. (CR. 294f; Gordon, 291). 

i* JOHN GREEN, Vicar of Tunstead, NF., ej. 1660; son of John, ej. Rector of Fritton, NF. 
(CR. 233); pastor of Cong. Church Tunstead 1659/60, also preaching Bradfield 1697- 
1707. Died North Walsham 17 Feb., 1709/10. (Gordon, 274; Browne, 303, 309; 
E.M., 1818, 146). 

SAMUEL WRIGHT, asst. Yarmouth 1690-1709; Wrentham 1709- and pastor 1716-19; 
Southwold 1719-27 res. (Gordon, 74, 177, 392; G. E. Evana, Vestiges, 261 ; Browne, 244) 


JOHN KILLINGHALL, minister Beccles, SF., Oct. 1697-1699, when dismissed. Un 
happily fell into sin which called for the severest discipline of the Church . . . became 
deeply penitent and was restored to fellowship. (Browne, 463). In secular business 
till 1702; then minister Deadman s Place, Southwark 1702-40; died Jan. 1740. 
(W. Wilson, iv. 147). cf. The Journeys of Celia Fietme* (ed. C. Morris, 1949), 145 : 
Beccles : a good Meeting place at least 400 hearers and they have a very good minister 
in Mr. Killinghall : he is but a young man, but seemed very serious . . . Sir Robert Rich 
is a-great supporter of them and contributed to the building of the Meeting Place, which 
is very ncfltc." 

THOMAS WORTS, ej. R. of Barningham, NF. 1660, bro. of Richard, supra. Received 
Brants from Common Fund for East Ruston, NF. 1692-96 (Gordon, 74). Prob. buried 
Trunch, NF., 1 April 1697. (CR. 547). 

JOHN HAMMOND, cf. W. M. Jones and A. J. Grieve, op. cit. inf., 33 : " John Hammond, a 
member (at Bury St. Edmunds) had sought dismission that he might become minister 
at Colchester, and when the church refused it, being not wholly satisfied, he nevertheless 
went to be their pastor, until division arose among them. Unity being restored, the 
Colchester folk asked Bury for his dismission and submitted their covenant for 
approbation . . . received letter of recommendation, October 1st, 1693." He appears to 
have been minister of the Baptist Church in Colchester (Moor Lane, now Eld Lane) 
1690-94, about which time he died (T. W. Davids, Annals of Evangelical Noncfty. in 
Essex, 376: cf. E. A. Blaxill, The Noncfst. Churches of Colchester, 1948, 15f.). 

I* JOHN ASTY, b. 12 Sept., 1675, son of Robert, minister Norwich (d. 1681) and grandson 
of Robert, ej. R. of Stratford St. Mary, SF. 1660 (CR.) Educ. in London by T. Rowe 
and at Newington Green : Chaplain to Smith Fleetwood Esq., Armingland Hall, NF. 
1695-1710 (cf. A. COVENEY, supra.); minister Ropemakers Alley, London, 1713-1729: 
d 20 Jan., 1729/30. (cf. D.N.B.) His mother, Lydia, was dau. of John Sammes, ej. 
Coggeshall. (Gordon, 13; W. Wilson, ii. 537; Browne, 328, 615; Trans. C.H.S. ii. 
272; iv. 37.). 

WILLIAM NOAKS, or NOKES, educ. at University of Utrecht; minister Beccles 1703-1709; 
Ropemakers Alley, London 1709-12, where succeeded by J. ASTY (supra.). He then 
left the Dissenters, and took the gown in the Church of England, after which we hear 
nothing further concerning him. (W. Wilson, ii. 536). Prob. the person to whom Is. 
Watts dedicated one of his lyric poems on Friendship. Calamy, Own Life, i. 139, 142; 
ii. 508 notes his conformity in Suffolk, that he was scandalous, became disordered 
in his mind and died in one of the streets of London, some think on the steps of St. 
Andrew s, Holborn. 

i GEORGE SMITH, minister at Framlingham c. 1698-99; Norwich 1699. (Browne 267 and 
n. vague as to dates, but seemingly remained pastor over the majority party of the Norwich 
Church at Old Meeting when Stackhouse and his adherents removed to Blackfriars.) 
Was ultimately dismissed by the Norwich Church and died under reproach for 
immorality. (n.d.) (Harmar MS. Browne 538 and n.2.) 

20 JOHN BERT or BEART, adm. member of Cong. Ch., Ipswich, 3 May, 1693, dismissed to 
become pastor at Church at Bury St. Edmunds, 1699, after supplying there for some five 
years. Ord. 1701, died 24 Dec. 1716, aet 43. (cf. Browne, 411 and n. 2, where some 
uncertainty as to date of death possibly (?) Jan. 1716/17.) Abraham Coveney, supro., 
admitted a member under him in March 1709. W. M. Jones and A. J. Grieve, These 
Three Hundred Years, Bury St. Edmunds, 1946, 34ff. 

zi JOHN HURRION, b. Nov. 1676, son of John (poss. lie. Sibton, SF. 1672) and grandson of 
Edmund Whincop, ej. C. of Leiston, SF. (CR. 523) : educ. at Walpole; minister at 
Denton, NF. c. 1696-1724 (ord. 29 July, 1701); Hare Court, London 1724-31; died 
31 Dec. 1731. (DNB ., W. Wilson, iii. 288). Sons, John, min. Gosport, d. 1750; 
Samuel, min. Guestwick, d. 1763. 

zz PETER FINCH, s. Henry, ej. V. of Walton on the Hill, Lanes., 1662 (CR. 195); educ. 
by R. Frankland, Natland, 1678 (Nicholson and Axon, 548); Edinburgh Univ., M.A., 
1680; Chaplain to Sir Wm. Ashurst; min. Norwich 1691/2-1754; d. 6 Oct., 1754, 
his 93rd birthday. Not related to Martin Finch or Fynch, of Norwich. (Gordon, 263 ; 
Browne, 280; Toulmin, 578.) 

JOHN BROOKE, educ. at Attercliffe Academy (C.H.S. Trans., iv. 340); min. Swanland, 
Yorks 1703-11; Yarmouth 1711-1718/9; Norwich 1719-32; co-pastor St. Saviourgate, 
York, 1732-35; d. 22 Oct., 1735. (Gordon, 160, 174; G. E. Evans, Vestiget, 189, 261, 
264; J. G. Miall, 369, 387; Browne, 245, 280.) 

2 * JULIUS SAUNDERS, second son of Julius, min. Bedworth, WA. 1686-1730; educ. Sulby 
Academy and Bedworth; asst. Coventry; min. Denton 1725-49. d. unmarried, 28 Jan., 
1749/50, aet 58. (Sibree and Caston, Indpcy. in Warwicks., 160; Browne 337; Gordon, 
346.) His nephew, Julius tertius, succeeded him in the Denton pastorate (d. 1757). 

" JOHN FLETCHER, s. of Thomas, min. Dagger Lane, Hull (d. 1773) : b. Hull, 17 May, 
1705; educ. Attercliffe (?) and London (Dr. Thos. Ridgley); asst. York Buildings, 
Strand, London, 1727 (?) (cf. Jos. Astley, supra.); Bradfield, NF. 1728-73 : ord. 6 Aug., 
1729; also preached freq. at Tunstead, Southrepps and Guestwick. d. 30 June, 1773. 
(W. Wilson, iv. 19; Browne, 306, 311, 318; E.M., 1818, 57, 145.) 

1 4 

Philip Doddridge s Letters 
to Samuel Clark 

The members of our Society will warmly applaud the decision of 
the Friends of Dr. Williams Library to present the library with a 
microfilm of Philip Doddridge s letters to Samuel Clark, the minister 
at St. Albans and Doddridge s life-long adviser and friend. The 
manuscript volume containing many of these letters is preserved at 
New College, London, where the Principal gladly gave permission for 
the microfilm to be made. It contains 90 letters, 89 of which are from 
Doddridge to Clark, the one remaining being from Clark to Doddridge. 
Of these 89 letters, 59 appear in J. D. Humphreys edition of 
Doddridge s Correspondence (1829 31, 5 vols.), in whole or in part, 
but 30 appear not to have been published. Humphreys edition also 
includes 32 letters which are not in the MS. volume. The table 
printed below shows which letters are in which of these three categories. 





H., i. 











H., i. 59. 



H., i. 67. 



H., i. 115. 











H., i. 




. 1722. 


i. 152. 












H., i 















1. H., i. 215. 







2. H., i. 226. 







3. H., i. 234. 










Nov. 1723. 










4. H., i. 294. 





H., i 


































. MS., 5. H., ii. 7. 






6. H., ii. 27. 



Nov. 1725. 



. 66. 



Mar. 1726. 










7. H., ii. 108 (as 27 Apr.) 






ii. 118. 






ii. 140. 




. 1726. 


ii. 163. 



31. Dec. 1726. H., ii. 228. 

32. 12 Dec. 1726. MS., 8. H., ii. 234. 

33. 10 Apr. 1727. H. f ii. 292. 

34. 20 July 1727. H., ii. 319. 

35. 26 Oct. 1727. MS., 10. H., ii. 363 (as 30 Oct.) 

36. 21 Jan. 1728. MS., 11. H., ii. 408 (out of order). 

37. 6 Feb. 1727/8. MS., 12. H., ii. 396 (as 1727). 

38. 10 Apr. 1728. MS., 13. H., ii. 439. 

39. 19 Apr. 172[8]. MS., 9. 

40. 13 May 1728. MS., 14. 

41. 22 May 1728. MS., 15. H., ii. 454. 

42. 4 Oct. 1728. MS., 16. H., ii. 459. 

43. 12 Mar. 1728/9. MS., 17. H., ii. 448 (as Apr. 1728). 

44. MS., 18. H., ii. 487 (as 7 Aug. 1729). 

45. 23 Dec. 1729. MS., 19. H., ii. 518. 

46. 26 Oct. 1734. MS., 31. H., iii. 177. 

47. 17 Jan. 1734/5. MS., 32. H., iii. 180. 

48. 24 Mar. 1735/6. MS., 38. H., iii. 218 (as 10 Nov. 1736). 

49. 1 Jan. 1736/7. MS., 20. H., iii. 220. 

50. 22 Jan. 1736/7. MS., 21. H., iii. 230. 

51. 17 Apr. 1737. MS., 22. H., iii. 234. 

52. 8 May 1737. H., iii. 239. 

53. 12 June 1737. MS., 34. H., iii. 248 (as July). 

54. 20 July 1737. MS., 35. H., iii. 257. 

55. 8 Sept. 1737. MS., 36. H., iii. 272. 

56. 30 Oct. 1737. MS., 43. H. iii. 278. 

57. 9 Nov. 1737. MS., 44. 

58. 21 Nov. 1737. MS., 23. H., iii. 284. 

59. 15 Dec. 1737. H., iii. 288. 

60. 28 Dec. 1737. MS., 24. H., iii. 292. 
[60.* 6 Jan. 1737/8. MS., 33. FROM Clark.] 

61. 25 Mar. 1738. MS., 37. 

62. 2 Apr. 1738. MS., 39. H., iii. 316. 

63. 17 May 1738. MS., 45. H., iii. 323. 

64. 15 June 1738. MS., 40. H., iii. 329 (as 13 June). 

65. 23 June 1738. MS., 25. H., iii. 331. 

66. 23 Sept. 1738. MS., 41. 

67. 7 Oct. 1738. MS., 42. H., iii. 345. 

68. Dec. 1738. MS., 46. H., iii. 347. 

69. 27 Feb. 1738/9. MS., 47 H., iii. 358. 

70. 16 Apr. 1739. MS., 48. H., iii. 368 (as 25 Apr.). 

71. 8 May 1739. MS., 50. 

72. 16 June 1739. MS., 49. H., iii. 382. 

73. 30 Aug. 1739. MS., 51. H., iii. 397. 

74. 24 Nov. 1739. MS., 52. H., iii. 403. 

75. 8 Feb. 1739/40. MS., 26. 

76. 25 Feb. [1739/40] 2 . MS., 27. H., iii. 260 (as 4 Aug. 1737). 

77. 2 Apr. 1740. MS., 54. 

78. 2 May 1740. H., iii. 458. 

79. 14 Oct. 1740. MS., 55. 

80. 21 Feb. 1741. H., iii. 540. 

81. 14 Mar. 1740/1. MS., 53. H., iii. 545. 

82. 12 May 1741. MS., 56. 

1 1727 in error; endorsed by Clark 19 Apr. 1728; contents confirm 1728. 

1739 * m datC f 1Ctter to Doddridge from Zinzendorf here copied, which is 9 Dec. 






MS., 28. 





MS., 57. 





MS., 58. 



Jan. 1742. H., iv. 66. 





. MS., 59. H., 

iv. 220. 





MS., 60. 

H., iv. 






MS., 71. 





MS., 64. 





MS., 62. 





MS., 63. 

H., iv. 

297 (as 15 Dec.) 





MS., 65. 

H., iv. 306. 





MS., 66. 

H., iv 






MS., 67. 





MS., 68. 





MS., 69. 

H., iv. 






MS., 70. 





MS., 72. 


iv. 376. 





MS., 29. 





. MS., 73 

. H., 

iv. 391. 





MS., 61. 

H., iv. 






H., iv. 442, 





. MS., 74 





MS., 30. 





MS., 75. 

H., iv 

. 482. 





MS., 76. 

H., iv 

. 515. 





MS., 77. 





MS., 79. 





MS., 78. 





MS., 80. 





MS., 81. 

H., iv 

. 550. 





MS., 82. 

H., iv. 






MS., 83. 

H., v. 36. 





. MS., 84, 





MS., 86. 





MS., 87. 





MS., 88. 

H., v. 






MS., 89. 



Mar. 1748/9. MS., 85 


v. 108. 




MS., 90. 

H., v. 


From this table it will be apparent that the dates printed by 
Humphreys are by no means always reliable. Humphreys also 
frequently, almost regularly, omits postscripts; even when he prints 
one, he often omits a second postscript; and postscripts often contain 
matters of personal and domestic interest. Furthermore, Humphreys 
often omits the place of writing : thus, letters 13 and 14 were written 
from Hinckley and Letters 35 and 37 from (Market) Harborough; 
and Letter 48 was written not from Northampton but from Newport. 

Humphreys omissions and depravations in the text of the letters 
are too many and various to be easily described in brief. Perhaps 
the best way of indicating them is to give a few illustrations. 

i So endorsed, with Tore off a shorthand P.S. and lent Dr. Rippon to get it decipher d . 


In Letters 13 and 14 Mr. R. is Mr. Rogerson, and in Letter 13 
Mr. Some should be Mr. Statham. In Letter 14 the last two 
words of I should in all probability have been tied down to some dull 
formal duties should be mechanick Business. In Letter 17 
Humphreys omits the description of Massey as (Sope Maker on ye 
Artillery Ground) and inserts David before Jennings ; in the 
phrase It would certainly be very uncomfortable to be dismissed 
there, dismissed should be despised, with which admired in 
the phrase following contrasts. In Letter 23 without any ceremony 
should be without that Ceremony which great Tradesmen (perhaps 
above any other Sort of People) seem to me to require ; and Mr. 
Arthur should be * Mr. Auther. In Letter 35, in the postscript 
relating to Mr. Hardy s conforming, last Saturday should be last 
Thursday ; and a passage is omitted describing how Hardy bowed 
to the altar, knelt for his secret devotions before service, turned to 
the east at the creed and bowed at the name of Jesus every time it was 
mentioned. In Letter 38 Humphreys omits a passage in which 
Doddridge says that he has promised Mr. Hughes friends at 
Nottingham " at their request that I will not be ordained at Kib worth 
till I hear further from them." 

These examples will be sufficient to indicate how desirable it is to 
consult the MS. volume, almost as much for the letters printed by 
Humphreys as for those which have not been published. In future 
this can be done in Dr. Williams Library, or in any library or home 
possessing a microfilm projector. One very effective way of encouraging 
further microfilming (and there are nine other MS. volumes of 
Doddridge correspondence preserved at New College, London) will 
be to join the Friends of Dr. Williams Library. 



20th April, 1951. 
Editor, Transactions, 
Congregational Historical Society. 

Dear Sir, 

Two documents in Dr. Williams s Library likely to be of interest 
to members of your Historical Society and frequently in demand by 
research workers are now available on loan from the Library in 
microfilm form. They are : 

1. (Dr. Williams s Library MS. 35.4.) a list written by Dr. John 
Evans (1680-1730) and bearing the date 1715 (with corrections 
and additions down to 1729) and giving lists of Dissenting 
congregations in England and Wales by counties with the names 
of ministers and some additional information. 

2. (Dr. Williams s Library MS. 35.5.) compiled by Josiah Thompson 
and giving similar lists of congregations by counties for the 
years 1715 and 1773. 

References to one or both lists are to be found in (a) James (T.S.), 
The history of the litigation and legislation respecting Presbyterian chapels 
and charities in England and Ireland between 1816 and 1849 (1867); 
(b) Bebb (E.D.), Nonconformity and social and economic life, 1660-1800 
(1935); (c) Monthly Repository, vi. 723. The list given in the 
Congregational Historical Society s Transactions, Vol. v., is from another 
similar list prepared by Josiah Thompson (also in D.W.L., MS. 35.6.) 
That these lists are now available without a visit to London may be 
of interest to some of your readers, if they have access to the apparatus 
needed for microfilm reading. 

Yours faithfully, 
Dr. Williams s Library, 

14, Gordon Square, ROGER THOMAS, 

London, W.C.I. Librarian. 


Price to Non-Members, 6r. net. 




VOL. XVII. No. 1. JANUARY, 1952 





Norman Sykes, D.D. 4-7 


B.Litt. 8-18 


Harries, M.A. 19-25 


PHILIP DODDRIDGE S LIBRARY, by G. F. Nuttall, D.D. - 29-31 





Reprinted with the permission of the original publishers 


a Division of 




Printed in Germany 
Lessingdruckerei Wiesbaden 

Transactions of the 

Congregational Historical Society 

Vol. XVII. 1952-1955 

Edited by Geoffrey F. Nuttall, M.A., D.D., and Robert S. Paul, M.A., D.Phil. 



Baker of Wattisfield, Squire .. .. .. 117 

Bancroft and the Brownists, The Writings of Richard . . . . 83 

Congregationalism and the "Hungry Forties * . . . . . . 107 

Doddridge s Academy, The Status of . . . . . . . . 19 

Doddridge Letters, Two . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 

Doddridge s Library, Philip . . . . . . . . . . 29 

Doddridge, Philip, New Light on . . . . . . . . 8 

Durie s Sponsors, John . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 

Grieve, Alexander James . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 

Lists of Poor Ministers, c. 1785 . . . . . . . . . . 92 

Liturgical Reform in Nineteenth-Century Congregationalism . . 73 
Lord s Supper after 1604, The Controversy concerning 

Kneeling in . . . . . . . . . . 51 

Madagascar in the Last Hundred Years, Congregationalism in 123 

Ordination Sermons, 1697-1849 . . . . . . . . . . 63 

Peel, Dr. Albert, and Historical Studies .. .. .. 4 

Pewell, Vavasor, and the Protectorate . . . . . . . . 41 

Surrey, Late Eighteenth-Century Dissent in . . . . . . 128 

BALANCE SHEET . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 


Arnold, R. W. .. .. 123 

Biggs, W. W. . . 51 

Davies, Horton . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 

Harries, S. G. 19 

Harris, F. W. P. . . 8, 92 

Jones, R. Tudur 41 

Nuttall, G. F. .. 29,63,91,117 

Paul, R. S 83 

Phillips, J. Mills . . 37 

Salter, F. R. . . 107 

Sykes, Norman .... . . 4 

EDITORIAL .. .. 1,33,69,105 

REVIEWS, OUR CONTEMPORARIES, ETC. . . 32, 99, 127, 136 


THE bicentenary celebrations at Castle Hill (Doddridge) Church, 
Northampton, in honour of Philip Doddridge, which took place 
in October, gave satisfaction and inspiration to all who shared 
in them. No pains had been spared by Mr. Bernard Godfrey and his 
Committee to make the occasion fitting and memorable : the church 
was decorated for the occasion with interesting Doddridge relics of 
various kinds, and most generous hospitality was shown to the many 
guests. Among the speakers were the Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. 
Spencer Leeson), the Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council 
and General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of England (Dr. 
A. D. Harcus), the Secretary of the Baptist Union (Dr. E. A. Payne) 
and the ex-President of the Methodist Conference (Dr. W. E. Sangster), 
as well as the Chairman (the Rev. H. S. Stanley) and Secretary (Dr. 
L. E. Cooke) of the Congregational Union. The extent of the debt 
owed to Doddridge by all the Protestant Churches in this country 
could hardly have been recognized more strikingly. Others present 
included the Mayor and Mayoress of Northampton ; the Principal 
of New College, London ; the Rev. Philip ^ Doddridge Humphreys, 
Doddridge s lineal descendant; and officers of our Society. The 
celebrations concluded on 28 October with an address on Doddridge 
broadcast from Doddridge s pulpit by Dr. J. Trevor Davies. Among 
the letters of appreciation Dr. Davies received was one which revealed 
that the retiring Principal of Pusey House (Dr. Frederic Hood) is a 
descendant of Doddridge. Another correspondent suggests that 
Doddridge s famous opening line, " O happy day that fix d my choice ", 
may have been influenced by the comment on John i, 39 ("They came 
and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day ") in Bengel s 
Gnomon (1742), O felix dies! Whether sound or not, the conjecture 
has a felicity about it which, like the gladsome spirit of the celebrations 
as a whole, would have appealed to Doddridge himself. 

* * * 

" The Gospel dieth not when I die," wrote Richard Baxter in his 
Dying Thoughts; " The Church dieth not. The Praises of God die 
1 * i 


not." So, in the year after Doddridge s death, a worker in the dockyard 
at Sheerness, William Shrubsole, began to preach, and from his 
ministrations the Sheerness Congregational church dates its origins. 
His tomb in Minster churchyard has recently been restored, and on 
10 November, by permission of the Vicar of Minster, a commemorative 
service, attended by the Chairmen of the Sheerness and Sheppey 
Urban District Councils, was held, the address being given by Shrub- 
sole s great-grandson, the Rev. S. S. Shrubsole, Secretary of the 
Surrey Congregational Union. 

* * * 

A book in which the author pays frequent tribute to the help he has 
received from our President, in particular in compiling a " List of 
Clergy in Exile, 1645-1660," is The Making of the Restoration Settlement, 
by Dr. R. S. Bosher (Dacre Press, 25s.). This is a most careful and 
thorough study, making considerable use of contemporary corres 
pondence preserved in manuscript in the Bodleian Library and the 
British Museum. " The fact that the greater part of the old Church 
was quietly absorbed into the Cromwellian Establishment has received 
little attention; but it was of immense consequence at the Restoration. 
By that time the role of a self-conscious and vocal Anglicanism had 
entirely devolved on the minority which had maintained a separate 
and independent existence." After portraying this minority in exile 
with the Court and their " confidence impervious to the gibes of 
Romanist and Presbyterian," Dr. Bosher shows them step by step, 
preparing for the Restoration and, when it came, cautiously but 
determinedly recapturing the Establishment for the Church of England. 
His conclusion is : " The political strength of the High Church party 
was bought with a price the Church surrendered to Parliament its 
last shred of independence." 

* * * 

We are most grateful to Professor Norman Sykes for his kindness in 
contributing the appreciation of Dr. Peel with which this issue opens. 
The rest of the issue it seemed right to devote to Philip Doddridge. 
The Rev. F. W. P. Harris, of Solihull, has recently been awarded a 


B.Litt. by the University of Oxford for a thesis on Doddridge. Mr. 
S. G. Harries has for some years taught at Oundle School, which he is 
shortly leaving to become a Lecturer in Education at Cambridge. It 
had been hoped to follow their contributions with a complete list of 
those of Doddridge s books which are preserved at New College, 
London; but in view of the rising costs of production it became 
clear that space would permit no more than a brief article. 

The Committee appointed by the Society is, indeed, gravely disturbed 
about the future of these TRANSACTIONS. At a time when our 
membership is higher than ever before, it is becoming increasingly 
nigh impossible to continue to finance them. In these circumstances 
the Committee has decided to dispense with the usual address at our 
Annual Meeting next May. Instead, our Chairman, the Rev. 
R. F. G. Calder, will open a general discussion on our difficulties and 
on the ways in which we may hope to master them. 

Dr. Albert Peel and 
Historical Studies 

" THUS God s children are immortal while their Father hath 
anything for them to do on earth; and death, that beast, cannot 
overcome them and kill them, till first they have finished their 
testimony ". Thomas Fuller s consoling reflection on the exodus 
of the father of English history, Bede, strikes on the ear with a singular 
incongruity and contradiction in relation to the premature death of 
Albert Peel, in the prime of his age and with so much historical work 
projected but unfulfilled. Rather would the student of church history 
echo the melancholy soliloquy of Keats : 

When I have fears that I may cease to be 

Before my pen has glean d my teeming brain, 

Before high piled books in charact ry, 

Hold like rich garners, the full-ripen d grain. 

Not content with this protest against the injustice done to church 
history by the death of Albert Peel, the votary of that study is moved 
to even more bitter lament concerning the inroads made by those 
thieves of learned leisure, the responsibility of a pastoral charge and 
the editorship of a quarterly review, upon the unrealized project of a 
definite history of Elizabethan Puritanism. When the eye passes 
from his early works which gave promise of so rich a harvest to the 
long catalogue of books left unfinished at his departure, one is compelled 
vehemently to grudge the years which he gave to his pastoral cure and 
to the drudgery of proof-correcting and reviewing. 

To the present writer, born and educated in the same region of the 
West Riding of Yorkshire, Albert Peel was a kind of mythical and 
legendary figure of a byegone heroic age. At a later stage in Oxford I 
remember the eulogistic references of Sir Charles Firth to his earlier 
historical work, and the reported indignant protest addressed by Firth 
to Dr. Selbie for the exiling of Peel to country pastorate far from 
libraries, where historical writing was beset by many difficulties. With 
the publication in 1915 of the two volumes of The Seconde Parte of a 
Register, being a calendar of manuscripts under that title intended for 
publication by the Puritans about 1593, and now in Dr. Williams 
Library, London, the name of Albert Peel became widely known 
amongst scholars and his work generally recognized as of first-class 
importance in the study of Elizabethan Puritanism. Of his editorial 
contribution it is sufficient to quote the prefatory verdict of Firth : 
To provide a key to the whole collection by indicating the contents 


of each particular document, and to print in full the essential portions 
of those which were important, were tasks requiring judgement as well 
as industry, and Dr. Peel has performed his work in a scholarly fashion". 
To the serious student of the Elizabethan church, Peel s two volumes 
are indispensable and his work in this field is definitive. 

But the history of Elizabethan Puritanism had attracted other 
learned scholars, amongst whom it is sufficient to mention the names of 
Champlin Burrage, R. G. Usher, F. J. Powicke and William Pierce; 
and it was no small venture for Peel to enter their field of investigation. 
Inevitably he was led to question, or correct, some of their conclusions. 
In his little pamphlet of less than fifty pages The First Congregational 
Churches: New Light on Separatist Congregations in London 1567-1581, 
published in 1920, he traced the fortunes and church-polity of the 
earliest fugitive separatist congregations in the Elizabethan age; and 
with evidence cumulatively convincing concluded that " there is no 
valid reason for moderns to deny to Fitz s congregation, and probably 
to others contemporary with it, the title of " the first Congregational 
Churches ". This pamphlet has an importance altogether out of 
proportion to its slender size. It has also a pathetic aspect; for the 
author s preface, dated from Great Harwood in May 1920, contained 
the promise that " I have for many years had in preparation a work on 
Elizabethan Puritanism and Separatism , v/hich will endeavour to 
trace the development of Nonconformity from Elizabeth s accession 
to the Hampton Court Conference ". Thirty years later this magnum 
opus has still not appeared; and with Peel s passing from us, hopes of 
its completion must be abandoned. A parallel pamphlet, also of 
1920, The Brownists in Nomvich and Norfolk laid down a further plank 
in the projected platform by its investigation of the historical origins 
of Puritanism in one of its strongest regions in the Elizabethan age. 

But the pastorate at Great Harwood shortly gave place to a more 
onerous and exacting cure of souls at Clapton Park ; and when to the 
varied labours of his church, Peel added the foundation and editorship 
from 1923 to 45 of The Congregational Quarterly , the hopes of a con 
tinuance of his scholarly historical work steadily receded. Some 
alleviation of the great disappointment thus occasioned may be found 
in his editorship for a quarter of a century of the Transactions of the 
Congregational Historical Society, which evoked a series of historical 
articles and notes which kept alive the hope of bigger things, supported 
by an occasional extended essay such as his chapter " From the 
Elizabethan Settlement to the Emergence of Separatism " in Essays 
Congregational and Catholic, and by his sketch of The Throckmorton 
Trotman Trust, 1664-1941. Not indeed that Peel s pen was ever 
inactive, any more than his busy mind. A stream of minor publications 
issued from his study. Some of them were necessary, and useful, 


livres de cir Constance; such, for example, as his centenary history 
of the Congregational Union, his Brief History of English Congrega 
tionalism, and his part authorship of a biography of R. F. Horton. 
But serviceable though these works of denominational pietas were, 
they were not adequate substitutes for the long-planned history of 
sixteenth-century separatism. Not even this can be said of some of 
his more ephemeral productions, such as From Thirty-Five to Fifty, 
or the innumerable book reviews which he contributed to his Quarterly 
journal. When during the war of 1939-45 he became a kind of unofficial 
travelling ambassador in the United States, the pristine hopes of a solid 
historical book faded into the light of common day. 

At the end of the war, however, the spring seemed to have returned 
to his year. He was no longer burdened with the Clapton Park 
pastorate; he even resigned the editorship of the Quarterly. In 
occasional (but alas ! infrequent) visits to Cambridge he unfolded to 
me his ambitious design to edit the principal works of the Elizabethan 
fathers of Separatism. In 1944, indeed, he published for the Royal 
Historical Society The Note-Book of John Penry, with a critical and 
learned introduction; and he was busy copying a manuscript in the 
library of St. John s College which he believed to have been compiled 
by Richard Bancroft. With the comparative leisure which release 
from a pastorate and the editorial chair brought, he seemed to be 
renewing his youth as a historian ; but with his extensive scheme for a 
corpus of Puritan Fathers he mingled occasional dark sayings and veiled 
hints, presaging the possibility that he might not live to complete 
these tasks. 

Now he being dead, yet speaketh. For the first volume of his project, 
Cartwrightiana, has been published with the editorial help of Professor 
L. H. Carlson; and other volumes are to follow, embracing the works 
of Robert Harrison, Robert Browne, Henry Barrow, John Greenwood, 
and John Penry; while a sixth and seventh volumes in this series will 
contain A Parte of a Register, upon which he had been engaged from his 
earliest years as a historian. It is hoped also that his transcript of 
The Opinions and Dealings of the Precisians and the Heresies of the 
Brownists (1584), with his introductory essay arguing for the authorship 
of Richard Bancroft, will shortly appear. When this entire series of 
volumes is completed, Peel s purpose to lay the foundations for the 
history of Elizabethan Puritanism by the publication of the indispens 
able sources will have been realized. But the gap left by his own 
failure to write that definite history will still remain. " Though one s 
preference would have been to finish the work, Elizabethan Puritanism 
and Separatism, I have long had in hand, it seemed a clear duty first 
to provide the sources so that, if time prevent the completion of my 
plans, others may carry them out " : this melancholy sentence from 


Peel s own preface to the first volume, Cartwrightiana, marks the 
final disappointment of his, and our, long-deferred hopes. The only 
compensation possible would be that some younger Congregational 
historian may be inspired to accept the challenge and fulfil his wishes. 

But if the quantity of Peel s historical work is much less than he 
and his friends and fellow-workers had anticipated and hoped, its 
quality is beyond question. Peel was characterized by indefatigable 
industry and patience in seeking out manuscript and printed sources, 
and he would have spurned hasty and ill-considered writing. He had a 
fine sense of historical discrimination, and, though dealing with a 
subject and period which have aroused much passion and prejudice, 
he maintained the strictest standards of historical integrity. This 
does not mean, of course, that he refused to make judgements on persons 
and events; his forthcoming preface on Bancroft for example is a far 
from flattering picture of that prelate; but he was never partisan in 
his verdicts. Above all, he illustrated the duty of the historian to seek 
the truth and to speak truth as he saw it, To his historical writings 
there may be applied without fear or favour the standards to which 
Gilbert Burnet made his appeal : " For I do solemnly say this to the 
world and make my humble appeal upon it to the God of truth ; that 
I tell the truth upon all occasions as fully and freely as upon best 
enquiry I have been able to find it out . . . For I reckon a lie in history 
to be as much a greater sin than a lie in common discourse, as the 
one is like to be more lasting and more generally known than the other." 


New Light on Philip Doddridge 

Notes towards a new Biography 

WHEN Alexander Gordon wrote his admirable article on Dod 
dridge for the Dictionary of National Biography in 1888 he 
commented on the fact that, though Stanford s Doddridge was 
" the best life at present, yet a better is desirable ". That statement 
is as true now as it was when it was written. Moreover, since 
Gordon s day a great deal of new material concerning the life and 
times of Doddridge has been discovered. Most of this is contained 
in newly discovered letters to or from Doddridge, which throw con 
siderable light on various aspects of his work and influence. 

There is room, and there is need, for a large-scale standard biography 
of Doddridge, which will make use of the information which was not 
available to his previous biographers. This claim gains support from 
the fact that there has been as yet no serious attempt at presenting a 
detailed and complete study of Doddridge in his proper setting in 
Church History. Although much good work has been done in connec 
tion with Doddridge, it has been very largely of a popular nature, 
and he has not received the careful and critical examination which he 

The first biography or memoir of Doddridge was that published by 
Job Orton in 1766, but this cannot be regarded as being in any sense 
a biography as that word is understood today. Then there was the 
small volume written by Dr. John Stoughton in 1851, to mark the 
centenary of Doddridge s death, which, though limited in its range, 
is very good. Stanford s Doddridge appeared in the series of " Men 
Worth Remembering ", and this is, as Gordon says, the best life at 
present. Even so, there are at least two points where Stanford is 
inaccurate in his information, and it is impossible to agree with some 
of his judgements. In his Introduction Stanford says that he 
" originally prepared the Manuscript of a much larger work. It seemed 
to be wanted ". He continues : The writer, however, gradually 
felt a suspicion that busy modern men could not spare time to give it 
attention, and he has therefore cut it down to what it is, in the hope 
that by doing so he may gain more readers, and do more good ". A 
similar hesitation may well assail the potential biographer of Doddridge 
today. He would, nevertheless, be in a much better position than 
Stanford was, to produce a comprehensive " Life ", and that for two 
reasons : first, because of the mass of new materials concerning 
Doddridge ; and secondly, because of our greatly enlarged knowledge 
and understanding of the eighteenth century. In addition, there are 
fields open for further research, which would certainly be of interest 


and probably of great value in giving us a fuller picture of Doddridge s 
work and a clearer idea of his place and influence in his own day and 
in succeeding generations. 

This essay is an attempt to give some account of the materials which 
have not been used hitherto by writers on Doddridge, and also to 
consider what may be required in any new biography of him. 

The correspondence of Doddridge is invaluable, both on account of 
the light it throws on the personality of Doddridge himself and many of 
those who wrote to him, and also because of the innumerable insights 
which it gives into his life and times. It is in this field that new light 
concerning Doddridge is most likely to be discovered. Indeed, there 
are already hundreds of letters known which are not included in 
Humphreys edition, and many of them are of great importance. Of 
these a number have been published in these Transactions and other 
periodicals, but there are still hundreds which have never been 
published. Dr. Nuttall, writing in these Transactions in May 1944 
(xiv, 4, p.238), has said that " an inclusive calendar of the letters of 
Doddridge would be a useful piece of work ". It would also be a 
difficult piece of work, but there is no doubt of its value, particularly 
in view of the unreliability of Humphreys editing, of which more 
will be said later. It would be a fascinating and an almost endless task 
as well. The present writer has so far compiled a list of some three 
hundred letters to and from Doddridge, none of which is in Humphreys, 
and there are doubtless many more to be added to that list. The 
Doddridge MSS. at New College, London, still await a thorough 
investigation, for Humphreys used by no means all of them in his 
collection. He himself says : " I have rejected some hundreds of 
unimportant letters " (iv, 570n.). Unimportant though many of these 
letters may be, they do contain much that is of interest, and the student 
of Doddridge cannot simply regard them as of no importance because 
Humphreys judged them to be so. 

Typical of the new material now available is the collection of letters 
between Doddridge and Lord Kilkerran, many of which were published 
for the first time in 1948. They appear in James Fergusson s book, 
John Fergusson, 1727-1750 (Cape, 1948). About forty of these letters 
are published either wholly or in part, and afford a good deal of 
information concerning life in Doddridge s Academy, as Lord Kil- 
kerran s son was a pupil there. It is at this point that many of the newly 
discovered letters are of special help. Doddridge kept in close touch 
with the parents of his students, and sometimes with the students 
themselves, even when they had finished their studies. 

There are some particularly illuminating letters which support 
this view. It is perhaps understandable that Humphreys included 
almost no letters of this kind in his five volumes, for in all probability 


Doddridge did not always keep copies of them, and those letters which 
survived would be in the hands of the descendants of those to whorn 
they were written, in which case they would be inaccessible ana 
probably unknown to Humphreys. There are some letters of this 
sort at New College, London, but they may have been amongst those 
which Humphreys regarded as unimportant. 

A small collection of six letters in the British Museum shows 
Doddridge s great care for those committed to his charge. They are 
all written by Doddridge to Dr. William Farr, whose son went to the 
Academy. A similar example is found in two letters which are in the 
John Rylands Library, Manchester (Eng. MSS., 369, 39b, 39c.). 
These are from Doddridge to Mr. John Lowe, of Bramhall, Stockport, 
Cheshire. Mr. Lowe s son, John, went to the Academy in 1741. In 
January 1741/2 John fell ill, and Doddridge wrote to Mr. Lowe, 
telling him of John s condition. The letter reads : 


Jan. 26. 1741/2. 
Dear Sir 

I cannot satisfy myself any longer to defer acquainting you 
wh what I was at first unwilling to alarm you wh. I mean ye 
bad state of your good Sons Health. A violent Cold the beginnings 
of wh he did not regard so cautiously as Prudence wd have required 
some time since settled on his Lungs occasioned a Decay of 
appetite and Want of Sleep a Shortness of Breath & other 
Symptoms wh made me very uneasy at length wh much 
Importunity I perswaded him to call in ye Advice of the Physician 
who has now attended him about a Fortnight. We thought him 
rather better last week but he is somewhat altered for the worse 
within these last two Days & on ye whole I look upon ye Case as 
so hazardous that I thought it absolutely necessary to acquaint 
you wh it. 

I can assure you Sir that great Care has been taken of him that 
he might want neither proper Food suitable to his Low State nor 
careful Nursing & as it has so happened that my wife who mis 
carried about three weeks ago has been confined ever since to a 
Chamber near his wh an excellent Nurse to attend her Mr Low 
has shared wh her in those comfortable Things & in that 
Attendance wh suited her in those Circumstances. And his 
obliging thankful Temper joined wh ye Early Apprehension wh 
she had of ye Dangerous Nature of his Illness has engaged her to 

. For access to these MSS. and for permission to print them, I have to thank the Librarian at 
the John Rylands Library. 


some more than ordinary watchfulness over him & I can truly 
say that if he had been her own Brother I see not how she could 
have been more tender of him. 

I would hope on ye whole Sir ye Case is not desperate but it 
is so bad that I judged it my Duty to send you this information 
both that your prayers may join wh ours wh are very earnestly 
presented to God on his Account & also that you may be preparing 
to make him a Visit if Circumstances should require it. 

However Sir I wd not urge your coming immediately you shall 
here again in a Week & then I will send your Bill wh on this 
melancholy occasion is a pretty large one tho ye Doctors Fees 
have been only a Guinea each other Day. Expences in these 
Circumstances are unavoidable but I do all I conveniently can to 
moderate them & ye Assistance of my Wifes Nurse & ye tender 
Love of his Fellow pupils each of whom waits on him like a 
Brother & one or another almost continually has saved the Charge 
of a Nurse for him wh otherwise must have been provided. 

I must conclude Sir wh mentioning one Thing wh has given 
me great Comfort under ye Deep Concern wh his dangerous 
Illness occasions & it is this. It seems to have led him into some 
deeper Reflections on Religion than he had ever before entertained, 
and he appears wh a much more affectionate Sense of the Truth 
& Importance of some doctrines of ye Gospel wh tis so fashionable 
to pour Contempt upon than he once had. This if God spare his 
Life will have in all probability a very happy Effect on his future 
Ministry & if God should remove him will be ye best support 
to him & his surviving Friends. I must now conclude wh his 
Duty & our Services to your self Mrs Lowe & ye rest of ye 
Family & wh ye Assurance of my paternal Care of him wh is ye 
best proof I can give of being 

Dear Sir 
Your affectionately sympathizing Friend & humble Servant, 

P. Doddridge. 
Your Son is rather better this Morning. 

When John got worse instead of better, Doddridge wrote again to 
his father oh Feb. 6th, this time in even more anxious terms : 

Northampton, Feb. 6 1741/2 
Dear Sir, 

It was not so much my own Indisposition tho that has confined 
me some Days to ijny Chamber & my earnest Desire if it were ye 
will of God to send you some better News of your Dear Son that 
delayed my Writing. And indeed from ye State of his Health 


for 2 or 3 Days & the Encouragement ye Doctor gave yesterday 
I hoped I might have told you quickly that he was recovering but 
to my great Grief I am now forced to tell you that he appears to 
Day worse than ever I have known him. That Hectick wh has 
been sometime upon him seems now to have affected his Head 
so that he often wanders & he has now a purging upon him wh 
if it cannot be stopd must soon waste him away considering how 
much he is already emaciated. He has himself been always 
firmly perswaded he should recover but I must needs say tho I 
say it wh inexpressible concern that I see very little appearances 
of it & indeed he is already so much weakened that good as his 
Spirits are & too ready as he is to make ye best of his Illness I 
much question whether he will be able to bear a Journey Home 
wh perhaps if he could do his native Air might do him as much 
good as any Thing. I communicated to him ye Contents of 
your kind letter to me for wh I heartily thank you. He is very 
sensible of the Tenderness it expresses & desires me wh his Duty 
to your self & good Mother to assure you that it would be a 
great Pleasure to him to see you here as soon as you conveniently 
can, & indeed if he go on to alter for ye worse so much as he has 
done for ye last 24 hours I fear Sir you will hardly find him capable 
of Conversing wh you if he be yet alive. He may indeed not 
improbably be revived but as I had not seen him for 3 or 4 Days 
on Acct of my own Illness wh generally kept me sweating in 
Bed I was shockd extreamly when I saw him so extreamly ill as 
he appeard in ye Morning & was very apprehensive of a sudden 

That tender Concern wh great & threat ning as his own Illness 
is he expressd for me under my comparatively slight Disorder & 
that affectionate Joy wh seemd almost to overwhelm him when 
he saw that I was come to make him a little Visit this Morning & 
to pray wh him as well as my now disabled Voice would let me 
affected me very deeply. I have Sir ye Satisfaction to think that 
nothing in our power is neglected wh may seem conducive to his 
Health & Comfort here or his future Happiness of wh last I have 
blessed be God a very chearful Hope. Yet as I know how tender 
a Circumstance ye Illness of a Child & of such a dear affectionate 
hopeful Child intended for such a Station in ye Church & promising 
such Usefulness in it must be I join my Request to his that you 
would please to come over as soon as you can. We cannot (being 
so full as we are) offer you a Bed here but you may lodge very 
near & to all such other plain Accommodation as a Family like 
ours can afford you will be cordially & thankfully welcome to us 
both. I pray God to give you a prosperous Journey & so to regard 


our united & earnest Prayers as that you may find my Dear Pupil 
not only living as I think you probably may but also "on ye 
recovering Hand. We conclude wh our united Respects to ye 
whole Family especially yourself & Mrs Lowe. 

I am 

Dear Sir 
Your very affectionate Friend & obliged humble Servant, 

P. Doddridge. 

I bless God my Wife is much better. We thank you for ye kind 
Concern you express on her Acct & all ye Satisfaction you have 
in our Care of your dear Child. 

A note in Doddridge s Diary included amongst " Some Memoran 
dums of New Year s Day, 1743 " mentions the fact that " good Mr. 
Lowe, of whom I still retain an affectionate remembrance," died in 
February, 1742. 

No doubt Doddridge showed the same love and care for each of his 
pupils. There is one letter which shows what patience and toleration 
he displayed even to the most trying student. It is not known to whom 
this letter was written, and it is undated. This also is in the John 
Rylands Library (Eng. MS. 369, 39a.) : 

A very unusual Perplexity & Distress in my Affairs the last 
Week hinder d my answering your prudent & obliging Letter so 
soon as I should have done & I am extreamly sorry that I must now 
do it in a Manner which will be afflictive to you & your good Lady. 

I had been informed by several Hands that Mr Henry St 
Nicholas was under very little Government at St. Albans so that 
I expected a sharp Conflict with him when he came into my 
Family. His Father assured me he would second me in the most 
vigorous attempts to reduce Him to order if he behaved at all amiss. 
At first being a Stranger in Town he was very regular but absented 
himself more than once from Family Prayer in the evening before 
the Death of that good Man, with whom I fear all the Hopes of 
Governing this poor Lad were taken away. Once he lay out of my 
House for which I admonish d him with great Solemnity & 
intended to have informed his Father had I not heard he was so 
weak that I feared it would quite overwhelm him. When he 
returned again after that melancholy Scene he immediately told 
me he intended to board abroad not being pleased with his Study 
which was the best in the House in my Judgement & which he 
might have exchanged for several others & from that Time he 


begun to take Liberties for which I was obliged to admonish him. 
One Night he took 3 of his Companions to an Alehouse kept them 
there very late & knowing I sate up for his Coming in broke in at a 
window about Midnight & slipt up without seeing me on this. 
I thought it necessary to give them all a publick Admonition before 
Family prayer the next Morning in Contempt of which he stay d 
out till after prayers three or four Nights just after it. I then told 
him directly I would bear it no longer & intended to have informed 
you Sr had not Mr Some with whom I talk d over the Matter 
writ to Mr Watson about it (not that I remember by my express 
Desire) He told me while he continued in my Family he would 
conform to the Orders of it but that he would quickly leave it. 
Yet he stay d out after that till ten almost every Night carried his 
Companions frequently to the Alehouse. Neglected Lecture two 
or three Days in one Week & ye Meeting sometimes on the 
Sabbath Day. Particularly yesterday when he went to Daventry I 
know not with whom or for what. Whenever I talk to him he 
says he will have these Liberties he is under no Bodies Controull 
has his Fortune in his own Hands & therefore will take these 
innocent Freedoms as he is pleased to call them. He left my 
Family on Saturday & is gone to board with a poor Widdows at a 
great Distance in the Town where there is no prayer in the Family 
& I suppose no Government. He desires to attend my Lectures 
but really Sir I hear so many ill things of him I fear he will bring 
a reproach upon us all. He swears as I am told most scandalously. 
I cannot say I ever saw him drunk but I fear he often exceeds the 
Bounds of Temperance & prudence if he dont sink into the 
greatest Excesses in that Respect. I must do him the Justice to 
say he behaves generally in a very complacent Manner speaks 
of me with the greatest Respect gives as good an Account of his 
Lectures as most of the Class but nevertheless I think such a 
pupil will be dangerous & the most of my other Lads are persons" 
of great Sobriety & I doubt not of strict & eminent piety, Some 
may be insnared & all disgrac d by such a Companion. I am 
loath to turn him away as I have done one with whom he had a 
particular Friendship and who came but since last Vacation. 
My Respect to the Memory of his dear Father & to the other 
Branches of his Family would lead me to treat him with the 
greatest Tenderness & I have done it but both my tenderness & 
Authority have been so slighted & my Family so disordered that I 
thought it not to be born & tis certain that if he does not speedily 
remove or reform I must refuse him a Liberty of attending my 
Lecture tho he seems most earnestly to desire it. I beg your 
Advice on this Head & entreat you dear Sir to do your utmost to 


bring him to a better Sense of things. For my part I determine to 
do all I possibly can to preserve the Character of those committed 
to my Care but you may easily apprehend there are numberless 
Instances in wh a watchful Eye may be eluded & especially when 
several are in a Confederacy to conceal the Irregularities of each 
other. I never have discovered any Immorality that I have not 
attempted immediately to redress to turn a Student away or to 
complain to Friends is an Extremity to wh I would not proceed 
where milder Methods will do but I am now come to a full 
Resolutidh tho directly contrary to the Bias of my natural Temper 
for the future rather to err in the severe than the indulgent 
Extream. Excuse so long & unconnected a Letter, & believe me 
with sincerest Respect 

Sir Your most faithful 

humble Servant P. Doddridge 

My humble Service attends your good Lady & Mr Watson, 
ps. I propose on occasion of this late Disorders (which what 
ever the Malice & Falsehood of some of our Church & 
Antinomians may have represented are intirely new in my Family[)] 
to draw up some Laws relating to the Conduct of my Pupils which 
I shall require them all to subscribe if they desire to continue 
with me, as likewise all that may hereafter come. 

Not many of Doddridge s contemporaries would have been so long- 
suffering, I imagine. One cannot help wondering what became of 
Mr. Henry St. Nicholas in later years. 

The new material is not concerned only with Doddridge s Academy. 
There is a small collection of some thirteen letters at Castle Hill 
Church, Northampton, which are most interesting. They are all 
letters to Doddridge, and are a part of his foreign correspondence, 
with the exception of two, which are from Dr. Nathaniel Lardner. 
The others come from the following persons : four from A. H. 
Walbaum, Privy Councillor to the Duke of Saxony; one from 
Th. L. Munter, Master of the School at Hanover; one from 
B. W. Schmager, Editor of The Family Expositor in German; 
one from Daniel de Superville, Physician to the Margrave of Branden- 
burg-Bayreuth ; one from Vernede, Pastor of the Walloon Church 
at Maestricht ; one from Lette, Pastor of the Church at Zierickzee; 
one from F. E. Rambach, Pastor of the Church at Magdeburg ; 
and one from a Peiffers, whom I cannot identify. 

The letters are written some in French and some in Latin. There 
may well be some Doddridge letters still in existence at the places 
from which these letters were written. There is also, I believe, a 


good chance that further letters by Doddridge himself may be found 
in the U.S.A. where Doddridge had several correspondents. 

To return to this country, there are three letters in the Bodleian 
Library, one from Doddridge to his wife, and two to Doddridge from 
Isaac Watts. Others are to be found at High Pavement Chapel, 
Nottingham, at Dr. Williams Library, London, and at Manchester 
College, Oxford. There are eight more letters (seven from Doddridge 
and one to him) in the British Museum, apart from those already 
referred to concerning the son of Dr. Farr. Amongst these are two 
letters from Doddridge to Lord Hardwicke, and a reply from Lord 
Hardwicke, on the question of the ordination of Dr. Stonhouse. 
Another MS. letter was in the possession of the late F. W. Bull, of 
Newport Pagnell. The unearthing of further letters must be under 
taken before a standard biography of Doddridge can be written. 

If it be asked what must be required in any complete biography of 
Doddridge, the main object must, I think, be threefold : to show 
Doddridge as he really was as a man, to give a proper account of 
his work during his lifetime, and to estimate what is his true place 
in English Church History. 

What is required in the first place is a thorough study of Doddridge s 
personality as revealed in his letters and writings, and here the letters 
in particular are of the greatest importance, for, as Dr. Nuttall has 
said of Baxter, so it can be said of Doddridge, that he gives himself 
to you. There is a wonderful warmth, tenderness, and gentle manner 
in his letters to Mrs. Doddridge, which tell us much of his character. 
In one unpublished letter he writes with obvious joy, " You spell 
exceeding well ", and many a similar touch is found. His letters 
to other people also, whoever they may be, often contain some little 
phrase which opens up Doddridge s mind and heart to the reader. 

The second task of the biographer is to tell of Doddridge s work, 
and to attempt to see it in its true perspective. Here is a daunting 
task, for there are so many different aspects to be considered. There 
are the hymns, the sermons, the devotional writings such as The 
Family Expositor, and The Rise S- Progress. There are the various 
addresses at ministers meetings, the lectures given in the Academy, 
and other minor publications. There is Doddridge s work in connection 
with the cause of foreign missions and his discussions of the possibility 
of a " Comprehension " with the Church of England. His dealings 
with the early Methodists are also of considerable interest. Theological 
questions would arise concerning Doddridge s attitude towards the 
Arian Movement. All these matters .would require lengthy and 
exhaustive investigation, as would the teaching methods employed in 
the Academy. Another important piece of work, which would lead on 
to the third section of the biography, would be the attempt to trace 


the careers and influence of as many of Doddridge s pupils as possible. 
Many could be traced without much difficulty, and the careers of some 
others who followed other callings could probably be discovered. 
A number of those who became ministers are well known, such as 
Risdon Darracott, Benjamin Fawcett and Philip Holland, but there 
are others, who, though never famous, exercised fruitful, evangelical 
ministries in small churches, and who bore the mark of Doddridge 
upon them. Typical of such men were Thomas Strong, of Kilsby, 
Northamptonshire, and Richard Denny, of Long Buckby, in the same 
county. Time and again it is a story of increasing congregations and 
enlarged meeting-houses. 

It was through his students that Doddridge continued to exercise 
a great influence on the life of the English Independent churches for 
years after his death. The work of these men must be borne in mind 
if Doddridge is to be given his rightful place in the history of eighteenth 
century Nonconformity and in the wider field of English church 
history. What is Doddridge s rightful place ? The answer to that 
question is neither short nor easy. One of the most important points 
to be remembered is the fact that it was Doddridge who bridged the 
gap between the Old Dissent and the Methodist Revival. He embodied 
much of the spirit of the old Puritanism at its best, and had a real 
contribution to make in the early days of the revival under Whitefield 
and Wesley. Doddridge s biographer will also have to show how 
Doddridge and some of his pupils, such as Darracott and Fawcett, 
were engaged in the work of revival before the Methodists had properly 
started. Whatever the details of a new judgement on Doddridge may 
be, he must certainly be given a high position among the truly 
evangelical churchmen of the first half of the eighteenth century. 

A gigantic task has to be attempted in connection with Humphreys 
editing of the correspondence. He is by no means reliable and this was 
recognized by some of his reviewers. One writer says : 

" On examination, every page was found to be garnished with 
annotating bombast and vulgarity ... In hardly a single 
instance did we find a faithful adherence to the MSS, and this not 
with reference merely to the orthography, but in the entire style 
and texture of the letters." 

This reviewer was writing in the Evangelical Magazine for October 
1852. He quotes from another article in the North British Review 
(xiv. 28, pp. 350ff.), in which Humphreys is described as a " coxcomb ", 
and his work as " the most eminent instance, in modern times, of 
editorial incompetency ". 

Humphreys sets out his plan of editing as follows (iv. 570 n.) : 
1 . I have rejected some hundreds of unimportant letters. 

? * 


2. I have condensed the matter printed, by the omission of 

uninteresting passages. 

3. I have, in some instances, struck out the superabundant words 

with which the hasty carelessness of the writers had left their 
sentences encumbered. 

4. I have not, in any instance, omitted any passage showing the 

Personal history, or the Theological opinions of Dr. Doddridge. 

5. I have not, in any instance, altered the original sense of any 

passage printed in these volumes. 

6. I have not put parts of separate letters from the same individual 

together, so as to make up one letter from the whole, as it 
did not suit the biographical plan of this work, although it 
was done in some instances by Mr. Stedman, and perhaps 
with some advantage, as his publication was confined to a 
single volume of four hundred and seventy-two pages. 

Unfortunately, it can be shown that Humphreys breaks his own 
rules time and again in a most reckless or ruthless fashion. Sometimes 
he softens down or omits a passage such as one which refers to 
Mrs. Doddridge s having a miscarriage. On many occasions he omits 
a postscript altogether or attaches it to another letter. In one letter 
he omits an interesting passage describing a private interview which 
Doddridge had with the Countess of Huntingdon. Doddridge was 
greatly impressed by the meeting and wrote : " Being then entirely 
alone we could open our Hearts to each other without any Reserve." 
Humphreys makes no reference at all to this meeting. 

If a standard biography of Doddfidge is to be written, and I believe 
there is a real need for such a book, clearly a vast amount of research 
will have to be attempted. Within the general framework set out in 
this essay there are a number of subjects all of which must be discussed 
at length if Doddridge is to be seen as a whole. Mr. A. V. Murray 
has recently observed in the bicentenary Philip Doddridge (p. Ill) 
that Doddridge " had an extraordinary wholeness about his character ". 
These words sum up Doddridge to perfection, and that " wholeness " 
must be sought and presented in all its fulness in any adequate 
biography of Doddridge. His innumerable contacts, social, academic 
and ecclesiastical, together with his firm grasp of the full catholic and 
evangelical faith, give him a high claim upon our attention even two 
hundred years after his death. He still has much to teach us. 


The Status of 
Doddridge s Academy 

EARLY in the seventeenth century there was much criticism of the 
universities and grammar schools. According to Bacon and 
Comenius they were more concerned with words than things, 
too much dominated by the past and insufficiently open to the new 
ideas of natural knowledge. Both urged observation and first-hand 
experiment as the proper basis for natural science, and advocated its 
inclusion in the teaching of schools and universities. Milton in his 
tractate Of Education (1644) was even more critical, though his remedies 
were impractical. Locke was equally disapproving : " when I consider 
what ado is made about a little Latin and Greek, how many years are 
spent in it, and what a noise and business it makes to no purpose, 
I can hardly forbear thinking that the parents of children still live in 
fear of the Schoolmaster s- Rod ". Locke would have added to the 
curriculum French ("as soon as he can speak English, tis time for 
him to learn some other language "), Arithmetic (" a man cannot have 
too much of it "), Chronology, History and Geometry. As his pupils 
advanced to the higher stage, Astronomy, Ethics, Law and Natural 
Philosophy were to be added. In the main, criticism was concentrated 
on the methods of teaching the classical curriculum rather than on its 
content. Locke regarded Latin as absolutely necessary to a gentleman. 
These critics were untroubled by notions of an overcrowded curriculum ; 
the new subjects were to be additional to the Classics. 

Despite this criticism, the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries 
saw the grammar schools and universities become more and more out 
of touch with the needs of society. However needful change must 
have appeared to enlightened minds at the time, the difficulties in the 
path were almost insuperable. Most grammar schools were closely 
bound by their statutes, which determined not only their curriculum 
but prescribed their text-books; they were tied to the Church by the 
licence to teach, and to the conservative universities by the need to 
provide an education in the clerkly tradition. 

This was how matters stood when the Dissenters founded Academies 
of their own to overcome the educational disabilities put on them at 
the Restoration. These Academies were unfettered by the restraints 
which hampered the growth of the grammar schools and were thus 
able, in addition to training men for the ministry, to meet some of the 
needs of contemporary society. The history of the Academies falls 
into three stages. The earliest Academies, up to about 1690, were 
small, private, often from circumstances migratory, and usually 



conducted by one tutor. In the second phase, from 1690 to 1750, to 
which Doddridge s Academy at Northampton belongs, they were 
often controlled in the interests of some group or board, and frequently 
had several tutors. It has been held that " the academies of this period, 
while teaching university subjects and employing university methods, 
yet become more and more modern." 1 In general, this is probably 
true, but it is difficult to establish any exact general equivalence. The 
ethos of so many of these Academies was personal rather than 
institutional and there was much variety of standard from one to 
another. Even in the second period of their history some approximated 
more to grammar school than to university learning. Perhaps the 
best indication of the status of any particular Academy was the 
educational standard required of students on entrance. Fortunately 
Philip Doddridge was a prolific letter-writer and has left us abundant 
evidence of the standard he expected from entrants to his Academy 
at Northampton. 

A letter about a prospective student written to Doddridge in 1729 
by Samuel Clark of St. Albans runs : " Mr and Mrs Pembroke are 
now come to a resolution to put their son, after Whitsuntide, under 
your care, if you are willing to take him : he has made a good 
proficiency in the Latin classics, but little in the Greek ". 2 Later in 
the same year, referring to other students, Doddridge informs Clark 
that " the three who are intended for the ministry had made a very 
considerable progress both in Latin and Greek, indeed far beyond what 
many others have done who have just left a grammar school ".* 

Teaching standards were low in many eighteenth-century grammar 
schools, and pupils from such schools would often need private coaching 
from a tutor before reaching the standard in Classics required for 
entrance to Doddridge s Academy. Of a clergyman s son in Norfolk, 
who desired to be brought up as a Dissenting Minister, John Barker 
of Hackney writes thus to Doddridge : " but they tell me that he has 
not yet proceeded so far in classical learning as is needful, in order to 
qualify him to enter upon your course of academical study; and I had 
thoughts of sending him to Mr Lee s, in your neighbourhood, upon 
the recommendation of that gentleman which you gave me ". 4 Some 
entrants from grammar schools were undoubtedly well prepared. 
One would-be entrant, Doddridge suggested to Barker, " might have 
much greater advantages for classical studies, in some considerable 
grammar school ".* 

John Roebuck, M.D., later the inventor of a new process for manu 
facturing sulphuric acid, entered Doddridge s Academy after his early 
education at Sheffield Grammar School. Of him it was said that, 
although in later life his chief interest were medicine and chemistry, 
he was " a good classical scholar, retaining throughout life a taste for 


the classics ". That such well prepared pupils were not numerous 
may perhaps be inferred from a letter Doddridge wrote to Samuel Say : 
" Mr StefTe s youngest son is a lad of as promising a genius as any I 
have under my care. He made a progress in Greek, while at a neigh 
bouring school, beyond what I have commonly known ". He goes on 
to record the virtues of this young man, who " before he had spent one 
year in the study of that language, read over the twenty-four books of 
the Iliad, in less than a month. . . . He now writes very elegant Latin, 
and is on the whole a fine scholar, and, what is yet more important, a 
serious Christian ". 7 

Often a pupil truly reflects the traditions of his teacher. Job Orton, 
a pupil and for a time assistant tutor with Doddridge, entered the 
Academy after eight years at Shrewsbury grammar school, where he 
attained a good knowledge of Classics. He remained a strong supporter 
of Classical training. When Thomas Stedman was about to become 
Curate of Little Cheverel in Gloucestershire, Orton wrote to him : 
" I am pleased with the list of books you intend taking with you, but 
you will allow me to add, that I hope you will take some of your 
Classics, in order to keep up, and improve you knowledge . . . especially 
such as may increase your critical acquaintance w r ith the New 
Testament ". On another occasion, in 1775, Orton again stresses 
the importance of Classics in the training of ministers : "the scheme 
of training up young men for the Ministry who have had no previous 
classical knowledge is attended with many difficulties and objections. 
I have known many such who had what may be called half an education, 
and they have generally turned out ignorant and conceited bigots and 
been very troublesome to their regular brethren ". 

When Doddridge first considered opening an Academy, Isaac Watts 
clearly saw that the Classical training given in many grammar schools 
would be an inadequate introduction to a course of studies such as 
Doddridge proposed. Watts pointed out : " You will have many lads 
coming from grammar schools, and as many such young scholars will 
not be fit to enter upon your academical course, with proper advantage, 
should not the perfection of the studies of grammar, algebra, and 
geometry be the business of your first half-year ? " I0 

For many years Doddridge neglected to take this advice. He had no 
shortage of well qualified entrants, and, as the following passage shows, 
he was reluctant to appear to compete with the local grammar schools. 
He tells John Barker : "I have hitherto studiously avoided encumber 
ing myself with the care of youths who were not well qualified for an 
immediate entrance upon their academical studies; not only because 
I would not seem to interfere with any of my friends who make the 
teaching of grammar schools their only care, but also, because I 
apprehend that, in the variety of other business in which I am engaged, 


I am not fully able to do justice to those who would study languages 
under my tuition ". M At the same time, his eye was always open for 
the boy of talent whether deficient in Grammar Learning or not. In 
1741 we find him writing to Isaac Watts about " some of my poor 
boys whom I am at my own charge supporting in their Grammar 
Learning ". 

By 1750 his views had changed. In a letter to Samuel Wood, 
written in the August of that year, he gives the reasons for the alteration 
in his practice : 

You may remember that there were three affairs of a public 

nature which were the objects of my particular solicitude. The 

procuring a third tutor for my academy, the providing for lads 

not yet. fit for academical education, and the doing something for 

the service of New Jersey, in the propagation of Christianity 

abroad. . . . The want of ministers and students is so seen and 

felt, and the necessity of the scheme for educating lads not yet ripe 

for academical studies is grown so apparent, that between three and 

fourscore pounds per annum have been . . . subscribed for that 

purpose in and about London; and out of that, it has been 

determined, that besides Mr Clark, who, with a salary of forty 

pounds per annum and his board, is to be tutor of philosophy, 

another tutor is to be maintained with a salary of thirty pounds, 

besides his board, who is to teach the languages ; and as his salary 

chiefly arises from this scheme, he is also to superintend the 

education of these lads in their grammatical studies ; who are, in 

devotional exercises, to attend with my pupils, and to be under my 

inspection, though not under my personal instruction. 12 

In September of the same year he is able to record the early success of 

this scheme : " And it has had such an effect already that whereas at 

Midsummer we had four vacancies on Mr. Coward s list that we could 

not fill up; candidates are now offering faster than we can provide 

for them both as pupils and as scholars ". IJ 

It appears, then, that most of Doddridge s students came from 
grammar schools, some of the better ones directly, others only after 
their Classics had been refurbished sufficiently for them to make a 
start on Doddridge s course of academical studies, which was com 
parable in standard to contemporary university learning. When 
Doddridge considered admitting only ministerial students, he was 
warned by David Jennings that it would be unwise to force the Dissent 
ing laity to send their sons destined to be physicians, lawyers or 
gentlemen " to Oxford or Cambridge, or to make them rakes in foreign 
universities ". Poddridge s learning attracted some who had completed 
the university stage of their education. Graduates of Scottish 
universities were to be found at his lectures on Divinity. 


There are also other indications of the status of Doddridge and his 
Academy. Richard Newton, the first Principal of Hertford College, 
submitted the new statutes of the College for Doddridge s examination. 
John Wesley enquired of Doddridge about the best books for educating 
his preachers. The list he received was formidable, and it is from this 
that Wesley is said to have gained the idea of his Christian Library of 
works of Divinity published in English. 

In 1743 Lord Kilkerran wrote to Doddridge to inform him that he 
proposed to send his eldest son to Northampton Academy. When 
every allowance is made for the nature of the occasion, the letter 
remains a most valuable commentary on the Academy s reputation. 

As the education of my children in a right way is what I have 
much at heart, and that as I foresee many dangers attending the 
usual method of sending young gentlemen to the Universities, I 
have been long of opinion, that the better way is to have them 
taught in an Academy, where they are under the immediate 
inspection of virtuous people, who will be no less watchful over 
their morals than over their literature. But as there is a difference 
even among these, my difficulty has for some time been where 
to fix; but I no sooner thought of you, than without one moment s 
hesitation I determined to put my eldest son under your care. 
The boy is going seventeen since July last, and after being taught 
Latin and Greek at a public school, with the assistance of a tutor, 
has been one year at the University of Edinburgh, and two years 
with Mr McLaurin, professor of mathematics, whose name 
will not be unknown to you. 14 

Discerning Dissenters in England, like Lord Kilkerran, thus valued 
the moral and social education provided by Doddridge s Academy. 
Although, then as now, student behaviour was not invariably exemplary, 
there prevailed at the Academy those standards of enlightened manners 
and accomplishment that well fitted Doddridge s men for entry to the 
professions and for easy acceptance in a larger society. 

That all was not equally well at other Academies seems clear from a 
letter to Doddridge from Nathaniel Neal, written in 1750 : 

The chaplain s post which I want to fill I shall be extremely 
cautious of recommending to, for it is a difficult one, and many a 
youth, who might make a very respectable and honourable figure 
in a congregation, might make a contemptible one there. And it is a 
misfortune to our interest, that our ministers are so generally 
taken out of the lower families, where they have had neither 
instruction nor example of any degree of polite behaviour, are 
then carried through a course of studies on the foot of a charitable 
exhibition, which will not allow of the least expense or opportunity 
for improving in a genteel deportment, and are immediately freed 


into the world, decked in a low bred familiarity and confidence, 

or a sheepish awkward manner, which is as ridiculous, as the former 

is offensive. Perhaps I speak in terms too strong concerning these 

external qualifications; but you, who know the world as well as 

the Scriptures, also know the truth of the observation, * That 

man looketh only at the outward appearance , and, perhaps, it 

may suggest to you some expedient for its gradual correction." 

Such strictures did not apply to the Northampton Academy, where 

the students were of varied social origin and were by no means all 

destined to become ministers. % In 1744 Doddridge notes " the accession 

of nine pupils, some of them very considerable on account of the 

persons to whom they are allied, as well as remarkably amiable and 

delightful". 16 

There was one respect in which the Universities remained manifestly 
superior to the Academies. This was in the amenities, such as libraries 
and apparatus. Doddridge was quick to remedy this weakness as far 
as was in his powej. He was one of the first to start a library in an 
Academy. His own knowledge of books was wide and detailed, and 
he spared no trouble in instructing his students in the proper use of 
books. The following extract from a letter of 1741 to his wife not only 
shows the esteem in which he was held at the Universities but is itself 
a reflection of his Academy s status : 

Cambridge, June 18 1741. 

As for the town where I now am, it is in itself a very sorry kind 
of place, if you except the colleges and the public buildings 
belonging to them. King s College and Trinity are both charming, 
and I think beyond anything in Oxford. I have seen several 
great curiosities in the libraries, to which I found a ready access 
through the complaisance of the students and fellows. ... I 
waited yesterday on Dr. Middleton, who showed me the fine 
University Library, and some of the most curious manuscripts in 
the world. I was most courteously entertained by Dr Newcombe, 
Master of St. John s ; . . . I have met with Mr Caryl, ... a Fellow 
of Jesus College, and a very worthy gentleman ; he supped with 
me last night, and invited me and all my company to dine with 
him to-day. 17 

In a further letter written two days later Doddridge relates that 
Caryl carried me to several other Colleges, where I was very 
respectfully received, and then drank tea with Dr Middleton at 
his house. He showed me several very fine curiosities, and I, 
on the other hand, had the pleasure of informing him of several 
very curious and valuable manuscripts, in the library of which he 
had the charge, of which neither the doctor himself nor any of the 
gentlemen of the University, that I saw, had ever so much as 


heard, though they are the oldest monuments relating to the 
churches of Italy, which continued uncorrupted in the great 
darkness of Popery. . . . and indeed their libraries want some of 
the best books which have of late appeared among us, being 
written by dissenters, nor did my learned friends there so much 
as know that such books were ever published." 

Later in the same month William Warburton, afterwards Bishop of 
Gloucester, wrote to Doddridge : 

My worthy friend Mr Caryl tells me you have been at 
Cambridge. And is so won with his new acquaintance, that he 
expresses himself to me in these words, which for once I will not 
scruple to transcribe from his letter : " Dr Doddridge spent a 
couple of days here last week. I showed him all the civility I 
could, at first indeed merely as a friend of yours, but it soon 
became the result of my own inclinations. He favoured me with 
much curious conversation; and if I judge right, is a man of great 
parts and learning, and of a candid and communicative temper. 
I now reckon him amongst my acquaintance and thank you for 
him." 19 

The quality and achievements of his students, his own considerable 
reputation and the social and academic character of his curriculum 
all point to the same conclusion concerning the status of Doddridge s 
Academy. Within the limitations imposed upon it, it was a place of 
university learning. 



Irene Parker, Dissenting Academies in England, p. 76. 

Correspondence and Diary of Philip Doddridge, ed. J. D. Humphreys, ii.484. 

ib., ii.487 (italics mine). 

ib., iii.203. 

ib. iii.206 (italics mine). 

Diet. Nat. Biog., s.v. 

Humphreys, iii.259. 

Job Orton, Practical Works, ii.415. 

ib., ii.655 f. 

Humphreys, ii.481. 

ib., iii.205. 

ib., v.l 78 f. (italics mine). 

ib., v.182. 

ib., v.285 f. [For a more correct and complete transcript than Humphreys provides, 

cf. James Fergusson, John Fergusson, 1727-1750, pp.29 f., where the school is identified 

as Edinburgh High School. Ed.] 

Humphreys, v.l 56 f. 

ib., v.459. 

ib., v.27. 

ib., v.30. [The MSS. were no doubt the Waldensian MSS. brought to England by 

Sir Samuel Morland, which have been proved to be " forgeries of moderate skill and 

ingenuity ". Morland presented them to the University Library at Cambridge, whence 

they " were long supposed to have mysteriously disappeared. . . . and it was generally 

supposed that they had been abstracted by the puritans ; but they were all discovered 

... in 1862, in their proper places, where they had probably remained undisturbed for 

centuries ". See D.N.B., s.v. Morland. A copy of Morland s History of the Evangelical 

Churches of the Valleys of Piedmont (1658) had been presented to the Northampton 

Academy Library by Robert Atkinson, an alumnus aedium, in 1740, the year before 

Doddridge s visit to Cambridge. Ed.] 

Humphreys, v.30. 

Two Doddridge Letters 

[These two letters are in the possession of Mr David Lewis, of 
63, St. Augustine s Avenue, South Croydon. Mr Lewis has gladly 
given his permission for the publication of the letters. The one 
addressed to Mrs Doddridge is written in Doddridge s own hand, 
and it can be safely dated as having been written in August, 1740. 
Evidence to support this contention may be found in the letter from 
Doddridge to his wife dated 13 August 1740, printed by Humphreys, 
iii. 489. 

The other letter, dated 30 June 1748 is written in another hand 
and is only signed by Doddridge. It is well known that he would 
quite often dictate letters to his students, as to a secretary, and would 
then sign them himself. Doddridge s contemporaries felt apparently, 
as we do, that it would be difficult to find time to carry out completely 
the devotional programme propounded in the Rise and Progress. 
Nathaniel Neal himself wrote to Doddridge on this matter : " If I 
might venture to add another remark, it should be this : whether 
your rules and directions for promoting the Christian life do not 
require more time to be spent in the exercises of devotion, and in the 
instrumental duties of religion, than is consistent with that attention 
to the affairs of this life, which is necessary for the generality of 
Christians?" (Humphreys, iv. 397f.). 

The postscript concerning the edition of Archbishop Leighton s 
works is interesting as showing what trouble Doddridge took in 
connection with it. His preface to that work is dated : " Northampton, 
April 26, 1748." So far it has proved impossible to discover to whom 
this letter was written. F.W.P.H.] 

[August, 1740] 
My Dearest, 

I was greatly comforted last Night after all ye Labours of ye Day wn I 
reed your charming Letter. It gave me back my exhausted Spirits & renderd 
me for a little while less sensible of ye Afflictions of my Friends. I bless 
God Mastr Shepherd has a very good sort of small pox & seems out of 
danger wh is also ye Case wh Joe Clark. Mrs Williamson is also to my 
great Surprize still on this Side ye Grave wh leaves Room for those 
importunate Prayers we are daily presenting before God on her account. 
As for dear Polly I heard nothing of her till to Day & now I hear from 
Welford that she is quite well has not had a Days Illness in [?] ye five 
she came thither & eats her Meals wh a most hearty Appetite. She is also 
very good & very entertaining & to Mrs Norris s great Joy likes Welford 
as 10*11 as Haddon. Miss Rappit grows sensibly better, she supped wh me 
last Night. [?] We drank your Health as constantly as you can drink 
mine at least I am sure I wish it as earnestly. I am very glad you my Love 
are so agreeably entertained & acknowledge ye good Hand of Providence 



in all ye Kindness you meet wh. Indeed where God has given so much 
good Sense so agreeable a Temper & such elevated Heights of real Religion 
Esteem & Love generally attend it in proportion to ye Degree in wh it 
has an opportunity of being known. I am glad Mrs Roffey & Mrs Clark 
are so well I hope you have by this Time had an Interview wh our invaluable 
Friend at St. Albans. I must conclude wh ye Services of all our Friends 
to you & ye Duty of all your children who thro divine goodness are well. 
You will salute in my Name all our good Friends around you & assure 
them that their Kindness to you lays ye most sensible & endearing Obligation 

dearest & best of women 

your ever affectionate 

& faithful P. Doddridge. 
I am very well & taken very good Care of. Yet long for you. 

Northampton June 30th 1748 
Dear Madam, 

I am much obliged to you for your favour of the 16th Instant and the 
Information it gives me with relation to our worthy friend at Newington, 
I sympathize with dear Doctor Watts under the Burthens of his increasing 
weakness but rejoice in the thought of that exaltation with wh he will soon 
soar above it to those Regions of Immortal vigour and perfect health to 
which he has been so long aspiring. I am Glad good Mrs Rubier [?] enjoys 
so good a state of Health but am very sorry that your Complaints dear 
Madam Continue, and that the Waters of Bath give no relief, I heartily 
pray if it be the will of God those of Bristol may be more successful and 
that you may be restored to such a state of Health as to render you Capable 
of enjoying yourself and your friends and of Contributing to their Happiness 
both by your Conversation and writing, to wch the Benevolence of your 
Heart so strongly Inclines you, and of wch your piety and good sense 
render you so Capable. It is a great pleasure to me that any of my writings 
have Contributed to the advancement of the divine life in so excellent a 
mind, but it would really be a Grief to me if by aiming at more than the 
present Tenderness of your Constitution will bear the Directions I have 
given particularly in the 19th Chapter of my Rise and Progress etc. should 
prove a snare and be Burdensome to you. You will please to remember 
Madam that I do not present them as essential nor as what any one is at all 
times bound to, I am sure my own Circumstances are such that I can Seldom 
practice them with the exactness I could wish, and which with more Leisure 
and retirement I have sometimes been able to do; they would in the main 
be impracticable by almost all the world were it not that some actings of the 
mind are so soon exerted and that our Consciences may answer to some 
things with a strong degree of Conviction before our Lips could particularly 
pronounce them. As for what you are pleased to enquire Madam Con 
cerning a Rule by which to Judge how far our Duties have been acceptable 
to God, my answer will be in a few words. viz., all those Services are thro 
the Intercession of our Blessed Redeemer acceptable to God wch we offer 
him in the Sincerity of our Hearts and in wch we have had a prevailing 
Desire to please him tho in the Midst of many Infirmities. That therefore 
is the great thing to be enquired into, whether we have Intended & Desired 
to please God in the process of the Duty, whether our Hearts have in the 
main been Directed towards him, Sometime Conscience will tell us, at 
least if I am to Judge of other Christians by what I too frequently find in 
myself, that we have been sinfully deficient in exerting the Government 
wch he has given us over our own Thoughts while acts of Devotion have 
passed and in such a Case it is undoubtedly our Duty to be Humbled before 


God, & to take care that we do not rest meerely in a Circle of outward 
forms where the heart is absent, but where he is in the main remembered 
& whereas in his sight and presence and from a sense of love to him we 
are struggling with the remaining Disorders and Infirmities of our Hearts 
I hope he Graciously accepts us, and it appeared to me that putting the 
Question in such a view might by the divine assistance have some efficacy 
towards helping us forward in those Duties of wch we propose taking such 
a Review. As for what you say of a Constant sense of the Divine presence, 
of living by faith in the Son of God under the Character there referred to, 
and of a Heart full of Love to God and Mankind, I would not Madam 
be understood as if I Imagined it possible while we are surrounded with so 
many necessary Avocations to keep the Thoughts Continually attached 
to such objects, yet I think by divine Grace we may be frequently recurring 
to such Thoughts, & that the having such particulars pointed out to us may 
assist us in directing our Minds to God and our blessed Redeemer in 
those Intervals of Time wch otherwise might be quite lost, & I believe that 
experienced Christians do sometimes find such inexpressible sweetness 
Intermingle itself with such occasional aspirations of Heart to God so that 
sometimes as much of his presence and love is enjoyed in the little Intervals 
of other Business & Entertainments as would in an equal Compass of Time 
be found in the most Solemn exercises of Devotion ; I Cant but think that a 
great Deal of the art of an holy life, (if I may be allowed the expression) 
Consists in attending to this, and it is particularly to be urged upon those 
whose tender Constitution or Multiplicity of Business renders them less 
Capable of attending to stated Devotion for any Considerable length of 
Time; It may & shd be our daily Joy that we have to do with a Gracious 
father who lays no Intolerable Burden on his Children, with a Compassionate 
Redeemer who discerns the willingness of the Spirit under the greatest 
weakness that can attend the Flesh, and who observes with pleasure that 
sincere and upright Tendency of Heart towards him wch we are not able 
to exert with the Vigour and retain with the Attachment we could Desire. 
These, Madam are such Views of the Subject as I have had an opportunity 
of giving you in the few Moments I have at Command, You will pardon 
me that being obliged to write so much I send them by the Hand of a 
Friend, who while he Transcribes what I Dictate knows not to whom it is 
Directed. You may depend on my Care to conceal your Letters tho 
everything so well expressed in it as to be far above the need of any 
apology [?]. My wife Joins her most respectfull Compliments with mine 
to yourself and good Mrs Ruhier, and will be Glad to take part of the 
pleasure wch the News of your Recovery would Give to 

Dear Madam 

Your most obliged & 

affectionate Humble Servant 
P. Doddridge 

P.S. The Expository works of Arch-Bishop Leighton are Just now 
published & will I doubt not give you a great deal of pleasure, it 
cost me almost as much pains to prepare part of them for the press 
as the writing a Tract of equall Length. 

Philip Doddridge s Library 

Preserved among the mass of older books which have been 
inherited by the Library of New College, London, along with 
many which were in the Academy Library at Northampton, 
are others which belonged to Doddridge personally. Neither category, 
alas, is catalogued; but, whereas the Academy books are dispersed 
among a much greater number, the larger part of Doddridge s, some 
three to four hundred, have been kept together. In what follows I 
attempt no more than a selective review of the latter, noting date and 
place of publication (London, where not stated otherwise). The 
fact that a work is not named does not mean, therefore, that it is not 
in the collection. 

Among classical authors Doddridge possessed Aristophanes 
Comoediae (ed. N. Frischlinus, Frankf.); Aristotle s De Rhetorica 
(1619); Cicero s Epistolae ad Atticum (Leyden, 1592), Epistolarum 
Libri XVI (Amst., 1689) and De Offidis (Oxon., 1729); Plato s De 
Rebus Divinis Dialogi Selecti Graece & Latine (ed. J. North, Cant., 1683), 
said to be a very worthless production (D.N.B.), Plautus Comedie 
(Paris, 1691); Seneca s Flores excerptae per D. Erasmum Roterod. 
(Amst., 1642); Sophocles Tragoediae (1722); and Suetonius Opera 
(Oxon., 1690). 

Among his New Testaments were Stephanus Paris edition of the 
Greek, which he inscribed e libris praestantissimis, and Gregory Martin s 
Rheims edition (1582) of the English, together with Martin s anon. 
Discoverie of the Manifold Corruptions of the H. Scriptures by the 
Heretikes (Rheims, 1582). Of Gospel Harmonies he possessed those 
by Henry Garthwait (Amst., 1634), Gerard Vossius (Amst., 1656) and 
John Le Clerc (1701). 

In the Christian Fathers he seems to have been weak. I have found 
Tertullian s Apologeticus with Minucius Felix Octavius (Cant., 1686), 
and Lactantius (Geneva, 1630). 

Of more modern writers he possessed Bacon s Essays (1701); the 
De Veritate Religionis Christianae (1709) and other works by Grotius; 
a minor work by Hobbes; works by the Cambridge Platonists, John 
Norris and John Smith; the anon. Reasonableness of Christianity (1696) 
and several other works by Locke; several works by Robert Boyle; 
Sir Isaac Newton s Treatise of the System of the World (1728); A 
Collection of Several Pieces by John Toland (1726); and a considerable 
number of books and tracts relating to the Trinitarian and Deist 

In the sphere of education he possessed Buxtorf s Lexicon Hcbraicum 
et Chaldaicum (Basel, 1655); the rare anon. Synonyma by J. Beaton 
(1647); J. T. Philipps Compendious Way of Teaching Antient and 



Modern Languages (1727); Gabriel Dugres Dialogi Gallico-Anglico- 
Latini (Oxon., 1660); a Novus Historiarum Fabellarumque Delectus in 
usum Scholae Etonensis (1701); Francis Hutcheson s anon. Metaphysica 
Synopsis (Glas., 1742); and, of course, John Jennings anon. Logica 
(two copies, one interleaved and annotated) and Miscellanea, both 
published at Northampton in 1721 in usum Juventutis Academiae. 

Among Puritan and Nonconformist writers he possessed Ainsworth s 
Arrow against Idolatry (Nov. Belgia, 1640); Dent s Plaine-Mans 
Pathway to Heaven (1631); two editions (1649 and 1655) of Oliver 
Bowies De Pastor e Evangelico\ Mede s Key of the Revelation (1650); 
works by Humfrey and Drake in the controversy recently studied in 
these pages by Mr. Biggs; and several volumes by Baxter, whose 
Practical Works (1707) he inscribed e libris longe dilectissimis. He 
also possessed George Herbert s Priest to the Temple (1701); Joseph 
Hall s Occasional Meditations (1633); and Jeremy Taylor s Holy 
Living (1656) and Holy Dying (1658). 

Among preachers whose sermons he possessed, French writers, such 
as Bourdaloue, Cheminais, Flechier, Saurin and de Superville are 
prominent. His library included a number of other French books, as 
well as translations of La Bruyere, Fenelon and Montesquieu s Esprit 
des Lois (1750). In the last of these he wrote : " I do not remember 
that I have ever met with any book which contains a greater number 
of new and solid thoughts or which is written with a more exquisite 
knowledge of mankind in its natural, civil and political capacities." 

Books by earlier hymnologists which he possessed are John Patrick s 
Psalms of David in Metre (1710); Simon Browne s Hymns and Spiritual 
Songs (1720); and John Cennick s anon. Sacred Hymns for the Children 
uf God (1741). He had Ken s anon. Manual of Prayers for the Use of 
the Scholars of Winchester College in the 1700 edition which contains 
Ken s morning and evening hymns. 

Doddridge s interest in missions appears in his possession of St.. 
Francis Xavier s Epistolarum Libri Quatuor (Mainz, 1600); Travels of 
Several Learned Missionaries of the Society of Jesus (1714); and Thirty - 
Four Conferences Between the Danish ^Missionaries and the Malabarian 
Bramans (1719). J.-B. Tavernier s Les Six Voyages (Paris, 1679), 
Robert Knox Relation ou Voyage de risle de Ceylan (Amst., 1693) 
and Geo. Roberts Four Years Voyages (1726) suggest an interest in 
travel generally. He also possessed Josiah Woodward s anon. Account 
of the Societies for the Reformation of Manners (1699) and A. H. Francke s 
Pietas Hallensis (3 vols. in one, 1707-16). 

Among curiosities may be mentioned Abu Bakr Ibn Al-Tufail s 
Improvement of Human Reason (1708); Louis Jobert s Knowledge of 
Medals (1697); The Complete Justice (1638); Pierre Le Lorrain De 
Yallemont s La Physique Occulte ou Traitc de la Baguette Divinatoire 


(Amst., 1693); Edw. Dacres anon, translation of Machiavelli s 
Prince (1640); John Ray s anon. Collection of English Proverbs (Cant., 
1670); John Thorley s Melisselogia, or the Female Monarchy (1744); 
Daniel Whitby s anon. Protestant Reconciler (1683), which was burned 
by Oxford University; and John Wilkins Mercury (1694), a very 
ingenious work on cryptography and modes of rapid correspondence 

Many of his older books Doddridge inherited from his uncle Philip, 
whose name they carry. Among over a dozen donors whose names 
appear on the books title-pages were his brother-in-law, John Nettleton ; 
Samuel Clark of St. Albans; David Some; Theophilus Lobb, who 
gave his Compendium of the Practice of Physick (1747); Nathaniel 
Lardner, who gave his Sermons (1751); and William Warburton, 
who gave his Divine Legation (1738-41). Among the books which 
Doddridge inherited from his tutor, John Jennings, are Sprat s History 
of the Royal Society (1667) and Adrian Reland s Antiquitates Sacrae 
Veterum Hebraeorum (Utrecht, 1708). The former of these carries 
the book-plate (from the date, presumably Jennings father s) " Johannis 
Jennings Liber, MDCC. Omnia explorate, Bonum tenete. I Thess. 
v.21 "; the latter is copiously annotated by Jennings. Doddridge 
was accustomed to inscribe his books with his name, the book s price 
and the date of acquisition but not to annotate them. An exception 
is Burnet s anon. Life of William Bedell (1685), in which, on the words 
" the lawfulness and the usefulness of the Episcopal Government " 
Doddridge notes in the margin " observe he says not the Divine 
authority," and later writes " He takes it for granted this Episcopacy 
was Diocesan." 

In J. W. Jaeger s Historia Ecclesiastica (Tubingen, 1692) Doddridge 
has written " Receiv d from Leicester Oct. 3. Sent to Harbo rough 
Oct. 10"; and from later inscriptions in different hands it appears 
that the book travelled round to Uppingham, Oundle, Kettering, 
Rugby, Hinckley and Tamworth. If Doddridge founded a ministers 
book club, it would be entirely in character. 


REVIEWS (cont inued from page 31). 

We have received the following short histories of Congregational churches : 
Lion Walk, Colchester, by Mr. E. Alec. Blaxill. 
Olton Church, Birmingham, by the Rev. G. H. Medhurst, B.D. 
Palmers Green, London, by Mr. Arthur H. Pye. 
Grange Church, Sunderland, by the Rev. W. J. L. Paxton. 
We have also received A Brief Sketch of the Life and Work of Robert Trovers 
Herford, by Dr. H. McLachlan. This booklet of 22 pages, printed for private 
circulation, is a worthy appreciation of the great Hebrew scholar and Unitarian 
minister, who from 1914 to 1925 was Secretary of Dr. Williams Trust. 



Philip Doddridge (7702-1751) : His Contribution to English Religion. 
Edited by Geoffrey F. Nuttall. Independent Press. 7s. 6d. 

Richard Baxter and Philip Doddridge : a study in a tradition. By Geoffrey 
F. Nuttall. Oxford University Press. 3s. 6d. 

These notes are not a review so much as a record. I hope every member 
of our Society has a copy of Philip Doddridge, but our journal would be 
incomplete without a reference. The Congregational Union missed the bus 
over Isaac Watts and had to rely at the twelfth hour on a species of Marshall 
Aid or Lend-Lease in the shape of Dr. Davis competent and comprehensive 
biography. This time it was more alert and with commendable common-sense 
committed to Dr. Nuttall the task of a fitting literary memorial of the bicenten 
ary. He in turn, besides contributing a general survey of Doddridge s life 
and times and a more intimate personal appreciation, called in as associates 
A. T. S. James, Erik Routley, Ernest Payne, Victor Murray and Roger Thomas 
to handle various aspects of Doddridge s multi-coloured endowment. Like 
the undergraduate who was asked for a list of major and minor prophets, I 
demur to make invidious distinctions between so eminent a company, but if 
they do not each deserve an alpha none is far below it, and the concerted effort 
certainly deserves it. (There is a chronological lapse on p. 107, and a fascinating 
printer s slip on p. 80.) This must suffice, for I wish to make a suggestion. 
It is not often that we can celebrate a birth and a death within a year. Next 
June (26th, 1952) it will be 250 years since Philip drew his first breath. Can 
we now have a select anthology of his writings ? Extracts from the Rise and 
Progress, his letters, his hymns and his lectures. What about it, Independent 
Press and Dr. Nuttall ? A fitting companion to the book we have and a rounding 
off of our tribute. 

The theme of the fifth Dr. Williams Library Annual Lecture is after the 
author s own heart and mind that of a spiritual succession and is treated 
with penetrating knowledge and delicate appreciation. There are many 
* traditions in theology and ecclesiasticism, here is one in Religion. And my 
second suggestion is that Dr. Nuttall (or one of his students) should give 
himself to the task of tracing this tradition back beyond Baxter and forward 
from Doddridge. Many honoured names will be rediscovered as links in the 
golden chain of Christian Action or Saving Faith as Dr. Micklem has 
recently defined it commitment to God and co-operation with Him in His 


In Essays and Addresses (Manchester L^niversity Press, 21s.) Dr. H. 
McLachlan has gathered together and revised nineteen studies of " the lives, 
principles, scholarship and influence of liberal nonconformists from the 
seventeenth century- onwards, with particular reference to the work of their 
Academies and the worship in their Meeting Houses." The academies of 
Thomas Dixon at Whitehaven and of Ebenezer Latham at Findern are con 
sidered in some detail, and there are essays on Semitics and on sport and 
recreation in the academies, Doddridge s naturally receiving frequent mention. 
Daniel Mace (d.1758), a pioneer in New Testament criticism, receives recogni 
tion too long withheld. Two of the most interesting pieces concern Alexander 
Gordon and his grangerized copy of the D.N.B. preserved at the Unitarian 
College, Manchester. All students of Dissenting History will be grateful for 
this volume. The only cause for regret is that a writer so sharp in correcting 
others should have allowed so many slips or misprints to pass himself. 




THE Editors of these Transactions apologize for the fact that no 
number has appeared since that bearing the date January 1952. 
Members of our Society who attended the Annual Meeting 
on 14 May 1952 will know that our finances were then shown to be in 
a parlous state and that for the time being it was not possible to issue 
further Transactions. At the Annual Meeting held on 20 May 1953 
the Rev. C. E. Surman, who for twelve months had acted as Treasurer, 
was able to report that the considerable sum of money which had been 
found to be owing to the Society had been recovered. For their 
labours during a long period in what has been a most difficult and 
distressing situation, and for their eventual success in restoring to the 
Society the sound financial basis which it ought never to have lost, 
we record most grateful acknowledgement to Mr. Surman and to the 
Chairman of Committee, the Rev. R. F. G. Calder. 

The address at our Annual Meeting this year was delivered by 
Dr. R. Tudur Jones, Vice-Principal of Bala-Bangor Independent 
College. Dr. Jones is an authority on that firebrand and " metropolitan 
of the itinerants ", Vavasor Powell, for a thesis upon whom he was 
awarded a D. Phil, by the University of Oxford ; and from his special 
knowledge of the man and his interests he read the paper entitled 
" Vavasor Powell and the Protectorate " printed within. All present 
were impressed by the lecturer s learning and also charmed by the 
lightness with which he wore it and by his flashes of Celtic humour. 
Possibly not all appreciated the seriousness of his subject. To ourselves 
the Fifth-monarchism in which Powell and his friends believed 
seems a strange byway of thought ; yet we are no less concerned than 
they with the problems arising from the relation between Christianity 
and government. The following passage from Blackwood s for January 
1904 (it is quoted on p. 117 of Dr. S. C. Carpenter s stimulating Pelican 
book, Christianity) is worth contemplating : " The principle of Govern 
ment was constraint ; the principle of Christian life was voluntary 
obedience; to the consistent Nonconformist Government was a sin ". 
Powell s A Word for God was at least an effort to wrestle positively with 
this problem, as much so as Walter Cradock s more moderate Humble 
Representation or the still nu>r<> conservative policy adumbrated by 
John Owen. 


It was an unusual pleasure to welcome in the person of our speaker 
a representative of the Welsh Independents and of our sister society, 
Cymdeithas Hanes Annibynwyr Cymru. Dr. Jones has kindly provided 
the following note on the current issue of that Society s Transactions, 
Y Cofiadur: " No. 23 (March 1953) is devoted to work done by 
Mr. E. D. Jones, B.A., Keeper of Manuscripts at the National Library 
of Wales. On pp. 3- 10 Mr. Jones contributes a brief account of the 
life and work of Azariah Shadrach, a pioneer of Congregationalism in 
North Cardiganshire. The remainder of the issue contains a careful 
transcript of the Church Book of Pant-teg Church, Caermarthenshire 
(N.L.W. MS. 12362). This covers the period from 1690 to 1812 and, 
except for a few paragraphs, is written in English ". 

Dr. Jones also draws our attention to the magnificent Dictionary of 
Welsh Biography recently published by the Cymmrodorion Society 
at 42s., Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig hyd 1940. Within a few years, it is 
hoped, the Dictionary will appear in English, but we understand that 
the English version will not be an exact translation of the original but 
will be still larger and more inclusive. The Cymmrodorion Society 
is certainly to be congratulated on the Dictionary, which has taken 
fifteen years to produce, as also on the high standard maintained by 
its Transactions, in which have appeared many articles on Welsh 
Nonconformity, often written in English. Of the Dictionary, to 
which he is himself a contributor, Dr. Jones writes : " That it has 
been edited by the late Sir John Lloyd and by Professor R. T. Jenkins 
is sufficient guarantee of its reliability. Since it covers the period 
between A.D. 400 and 1940, it includes all the most memorable leaders 
produced by Christian Wales. Congregationalists will find that 
generous space has been allotted to Independent ministers, particularly 
during the 18th and 19th centuries ". 

We have all been saddened by the death of Dr. A. J. Grieve. In 
1929 Dr. Grieve honoured our Society by becoming its President, and 
this position he held for twenty years. When, in the Society s Jubilee 
year, he felt it right to lay down his office, Dr. Albert Peel wrote in 
these pages, " The Society has had no more loyal member than Dr. 
Grieve"; and very many among us, ministers and laymen, whether 
members of the Society or not, were never left in any doubt how near 
to his heart lay the history of our churches, and with it the interests of 
our Society. A tribute by the Editor of the Congregational Quarterly 
appears in this number. Among other losses by death which the 
Society regrets are those of Principal E. J. Price and the Rev. T. 
Mardv Rees. 


The news of the full rehabilitation of the Congregational Library, 
for which the Society pressed in May 1950, has been received with 
much satisfaction. This will be increased when the Library is again 
open. The Short-Title Catalogue . . . 1641-1700 (Columbia Univ. 
Press, 1945-51, 3 vols.), by Mr. Donald Wing, of Yale University 
Library, which has now been completed, includes the Congregational 
Library in its lists of locations. This has revealed the large number of 
works not to be found in London, sometimes not to be found in England, 
except in the Congregational Library, and has thus shown the Library s 
great importance; it may also be expected to increase the number of 
applications to consult the Library made by research students, American 
as well as British. It is to be hoped that the Memorial Hall Trustees 
will not delay in working out a policy by which the Library s treasures 
may again become accessible, even if this requires some initial 

At Dr. Williams Library, meanwhile, the herculean task continues 
of recataloguing the older works relative to the history of Noncon 
formity, with the result that additions to knowledge are frequently 
made through the discovery, or examination, of rare works. Thus 
Separation yet no schisme (1675), which is attributed by the old British 
Museum Catalogue y followed by Mr. Wing, to J.S., has been found to 
be a reply to a sermon by J.S. and itself to be the work (Seperation no 
Schism) attributed by Calamy, followed by Gordon in the D.N.B., to 
Thomas Wadsworth, the ejected Curate of St. Lawrence Pountney. 
A commendatory epistle by John Owen not included in the list of such 
prefaces printed in an appendix to William Orme s Life of Owen has 
been found in a rare anonymous issue of The Glory of Free Grace 
Displayed (1680), by Stephen Lobb, soon to be minister of the 
Congregational church worshiping in Fetter Lane, in which Lobb 
defends Congregationalists from the charge of Antinomianism. Among 
Congregational ministers to whom no publication has been attributed 
hitherto is Comfort Starr, the ejected Curate of St. Cuthbert s, Carlisle; 
from internal evidence it may now be suggested that The Truth and 
Excellence of the Christian Religion (1685) was written by Starr. These 
are but three out of many examples which could be given of the 
discoveries which have been made. 

The place taken by Nonconformity in several recent topographical 
works may be noted with satisfaction. The Royal Commission on 
Historical Monuments now extends its attention to buildings erected 
later than 1714 and consequently includes, and illustrates, Non 
conformist meeting-houses, as in the latest volume, that on West 
Dorset. In the more modest but informative " Buildings of England " 


series (published by Penguin Books) Nonconformist churches and 
chapels are noticed likewise : in the volume entitled Middlesex (1951) 
Dr. Nikolaus Pevsner mentions six Congregational churches, com 
menting on Whetstone church, " An odd specimen of its date and of 
the fanciful leanings of the Congregationalists about 1900 ". The 
Victoria County Histories are also to give the history of Nonconformity 
more serious attention. In the forthcoming volume on Wiltshire the 
subject has been entrusted to the hands of Dr. E. A. Payne and of Dr. 
Marjorie Reeves, a Fellow of St. Anne s College, Oxford, who bears 
a name honoured for generations among Wiltshire Baptists. 

An event of importance in the last twelve months was the appearance 
of the late Bernard Manning s work, The Protestant Dissenting Deputies 
(Cambridge Univ. Press, 50s.). To comment moderately, or even 
fairly, on this volume, is difficult. Gratitude for the immense labour 
bestowed on it by Manning and, since his death, by Mr. Ormerod 
Greenwood is at odds with regret for the bitterness in much of 
Manning s writing and for the carelessness in much of Mr. Greenwood s 
editing. In the story of the struggle of those Presbyterians who had 
become Unitarian to retain their historic name, chapels and trust funds 
it is worth while to re-read R. W. Dale and John Stoughton : both 
are much calmer and more generous in their judgment than Manning. 
It is a pity that Manning s work was not edited by someone more 
" in the tradition " than Mr. Greenwood, or, if that was not possible, 
by someone who would have taken pains to avoid the inaccuracies over 
names of persons and places which mar the book throughout. Even 
less excusable is Mr. Greenwood s failure to indicate what is Manning s 
work and what his own. Honesty compels these strictures : the 
book must be treated with great care, if the reader is not to go astray. 
Yet, when all is said, it remains a vast collection of original material, 
largely drawn from MS. sources, on an unusual and important aspect 
of our history, and we are grateful. 

The Friends Historical Society has shown a notable generosity in 
its recognition of contributions to Quaker history by one who is not 
himself a Friend in its election of Dr. G. F. Nuttall as President for 
the year 1953, the Society s Jubilee year. Invitations will gladly be 
sent to any members of our own Society who would care to be present 
at Friends House on 1 October for his Presidential Address, " James 
Naylcr : a fresh approach ". 

Alexander James Grieve 

A. J. GRIEVE passed from us as one who embarks upon a ship that 
draws slowly away from harbour, sets course for the open sea and 
gradually declines from our view until it sinks below the horizon. 
In 1943 he completed his term of 21 years as Principal of Lancashire 
College and went to be minister of the church at Cavendish, Suffolk, 
where he and his people were singularly happy. In 1950 he resigned 
that charge and passed into the more complete retirement that failing 
health made necessary. But his pastoral interest in men and events 
remained to the end and was shown in his occasional attendance 
at meetings and in his letters, and last of all his postcards, always 
written with his own hand, which went out to the ends of the earth. 
He left many who are his debtors until they shall have done for others 
something of what he did for them. 

It is hoped to associate with a memorial at Lancashire College which 
is under consideration a Memoir for which material is being assembled 
by our Secretary, the Rev. Charles Surman. This will recall something 
of the richness of his personality and gifts to those of us who knew 
him well and will explain to others why we cherish his memory. 
But our Society owed so much to his Presidency from 1929 to 1949 
that it is fitting we should add our own stone to the cairn. 

Grieve was a scholar whose life-long interests were centred in and 
about the Bible. Was there ever a public speech he made that was 
not enriched by references and quotations, always apt, often un 
expected, which not seldom sent his hearers back to search their 
English Bibles ? In his student days he took brilliant degrees in 
English, which he taught in India, in theology and in history, at 
Aberystwyth, Mansfield and Berlin. Most of his professorial life 
he devoted to the New Testament and Church History. This \vas 
an inevitable development of his early academic work, for all through 
his busy life he was never less than a minister of the Gospel. He 
sought no ivory tower of academic seclusion, nor in hard times was 
he ever content to cultivate his garden. The Gospel of the grace of 
God in Christ was the supreme gift to the world of men, and he was 
its minister. So what he learned and wrote in his study was meant 
to proclaim the Gospel here and now; the heart of it lay in the 
New Testament and its ever living power was shown in the history 
of the Church. 

Probably most of his best work was done during his principalship 
of Lancashire College to which he was called from Edinburgh in 1922. 
W. H. Bennett, his predecessor (may his name be praised !), had died 



unexpectedly after seeing the College through the very difficult years of 
the Great War, when the building had been taken over by the military 
authorities for use as a nurses hostel : the few men who remained 
were housed elsewhere and the remnant that returned after the exile 
had lost much and gained little by their experiences as detached 
students in the sparsely populated University of Manchester. A 
strong leader was needed : competent in administration and discipline 
to guide governors and men; of scholarly standing to maintain the 
high repute of the College as part of the University of Manchester and 
a place of theological learning ; of Christian grace and human interest 
in the churches of the North-West whence the College drew its 
strength and to which it gave essential service. These diverse needs 
were met in Grieve as they could have been in few men at that time. 
Under him the College was built up again in numbers and repute, 
and was never more closely linked to the life of the university and 
city of Manchester, the churches of Lancashire and the denomination 
as a whole. 

While this practical work of rebuilding and reorganizing was going 
on and Grieve was himself taking a full part in the work of the 
denomination and in the educational life of Manchester he was 
for years a member of its Education Authority he was busy in his 
study. Mr. Surman, his son-in-law, has told us that a major work 
for which he had accumulated material for many years was, for some 
reason that appeared good to him, never completed. To us, who 
cannot estimate the validity of his reasons, this seems only loss, for a 
major work must surely have revealed the real quality of his mind and 
heart as no lesser literary works, however numerous, can do. He 
himself, I think, was content to live in the hearts of his friends, the 
men he had trained for the ministry and the churches he had served. 
Indeed, his literary remains, so far as they are known to me, are meagre. 
Most familiar is his work on the New Testament section of Peake s 
Commentary which he edited and to which he issued the Supplement 
in 1936, and contributions to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the 
Encyclopaedia Biblica. Of his historical work curiously little seems to 
have survived. These include his contribution to Essays Congregational 
and Catholic (ed. A. Peel, 1931), " Congregationalism s Contribution 
to Theology", with its useful bibliography; a lecture delivered at 
Emmanuel Church, Cambridge, in celebration of its 250th anniversary, 
published in Congregationalism through the Centuries (ed. H. C. Carter, 
1937); and other essays in literary and religious journals. We may 
hope that fuller information will be given us in the projected Memoir. 
Grieve s interest in individual churches is shown in his address at the 
Bicentenary Commemoration of Carr s Lane Church, Birmingham and 
published in the Carr s Lane Journal for 1948 : in his share in the 
history of Congregationalism in Bury St. Edmunds, These Three 


Hundred Years (1946); and in a brochure entitled Lancashire Independent 
College, 1843-1943. 

His work for and with this Society, which he joined in 1903 im 
mediately upon his return from India and of which he was a life 
member till his death, is in part, but only in part, illustrated by the 
papers and reviews which appeared in its Transactions between 1917 
and 1952. No record remains of the encouragement he gave to many 
students of Congregational history, notably Albert Peel, who came 
under his influence and direction as a student of Yorkshire Independent 
College where Grieve was then teaching it was the beginning of 
a rich and life-long friendship. 

In his earlier years Grieve s published work was chiefly literary. 
He edited, with introductions, several volumes in the " Temple 
Classics " for Messrs. Dent, including Burke s Reflections on the 
French Revolution, More s Utopia and Scott s Old Mortality: he 
also edited for the " Everyman " edition Macaulay s Critical and 
Historical Essays. His lecture notes, occasional papers and other 
manuscripts he destroyed a little while before his death. 

So we are left with little in print to call to mind one who served his 
Lord with all his heart and soul and strength and mind. But for many 
years wherever those who knew him come together there will be stories 
of his reproofs and commendations, his wisdom and his wit, and any 
who thought him difficult will be surprised that among his own men 
all had a deep respect for his authority of mind and spirit, but all 
spoke of him with deep, if sometimes rueful, affection as Sandy . 
(Once, in class, a student called his attention to what he considered 
an inadequate translation of a Hebrew word in the first edition of the 
Commentary " Yes, yes, my boy ", he replied, " spots on the sun, 
spots on the sun.") 

He acknowledged that he had not the philosophic mind. He would 
pursue neither men nor events into speculative metaphysical regions. 
He was essentially a plain man, though uncommonly shrewd, a 
wayfaring man, though very far indeed from being a fool, and the 
Gospel of the love of God was meant for such. So he understood it 
and so he proclaimed it. Of his pastoral care for his own men, for all 
old Lancashire men and indeed for all Congregational ministers of 
his wide acquaintance, much could be written. He was of Scottish 
descent, though born and brought up in Pembrokeshire, Little 
England beyond Wales , and educated first at home and secondly at 
school and college. " I was a boy of the Book ", he said once to a 
questioner who had commented on his extraordinary facility in Biblical 
quotation, " a Psalm had to be learnt and repeated to my father every 
Sunday." Made familiar with the Bible at home : made free of 
English literature in College that is a kind of education that was 


typical of Wales in his day and generation. It helped to make him 
what he was a Christian and a Free Churchman. There are other 
fields where men may gather wisdom and power. The Greeks offer 
their discipline to exercise the minds of men and their speculations 
to send them out to explore the illimitable. But the Bible and the 
English poets made Grieve. 


The following have been gratefully received : 

Cheadle Congregational Church, by Dr. A. R. Hunter. 

The Local Growth of Nonconformity and a Short History of the Dawlish 

Congregational Church, by the Rev. Dennis R. Friend. 
Guestwick-Briston, 1652-1952, 
Nether Congregational Church, Sheffield. 
The Mary Westby Chanty, by Mr. Bertram Hammond. 

The Baptist Quarterly for Oct. 1952 prints articles by Dr. E. A. Payne 
on " Michael Sattler and the Schleitheim Confession " and by Jean 
A. Smallbone on " Matthew Arnold and the Nonconformists ". 

The Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society for March 1952 
contains a contribution by J. Dayson Crosland on " The 
Bedfordshire Association : an early ecumenical movement ". 

The Journal of the Friends Historical Society (xliv.2) includes 
an essay by Beatrice Saxon Snell on " The Devotional Life of Early 
Friends ". 

Dr. R. S. Paul promises for our next number a review of two further 
posthumous works by Dr. Albert Peel, his edition of Tracts ascribed to 
Richard Bancroft and his edition of The Writings of Robert Harrison 
and Robert Browne. 

Vavasor Powell and the Protectorate 

THE Independents, whether they be considered as a political faction 
or as a body of religious opinion, included very diverse elements. 
As is not infrequently the case with successful revolutionary 
movements, this diversity increased as the period of struggle drew to 
a close. But they were all agreed that they had supported Cromwell 
and taken up arms in the Civil Wars, to defend their liberty. The 
execution of the King was a regrettable necessity, in view of the serious 
threat he represented to the liberties of the nation. Similarly, the 
ousting of the Presbyterians from their position of superiority in 
Parliament was another necessary safeguard for the liberty of the 
people. This was the only way in which the country could be freed. 
It was, however, not an easy matter to decide how best to act once 
liberty and peace were achieved. The discordant voices, muted during 
the course of the great struggle, now became strident. Cromwell 
acceded to the demand of one wing of his supporters when he called 
the Nominated Parliament. This had a peculiarly close connection 
with the Independent churches of the country, and represented the 
culminating point in the campaign of the Fifth-monarchists for political 
control. This body may well have been a collection of excellent 
individuals, but it soon demonstrated its utter inefficiency as a parlia 
ment. When it became apparent to the members of this parliament 
that they could do nothing better than resign both their power and 
their authority into the hands of Cromwell, he must have realised that 
he would have to face bitter opposition from the Fifth-monarchists 
throughout the country, if he abandoned the experiment of allowing 
the Saints to rule. 

Cromwell however, went further than that. He not only dissolved 
the Saints Parliament, but he decided to accept the suggestion that 
he should take supreme power into his own hands. The precise title 
which he took was that of Lord Protector. He was installed Lord 
Protector on December 16, 1653, and formally proclaimed on Monday, 
December 19. 

The reactions of the Fifth-monarchists can be studied in the career 
of Vavasor Powell at this point. 

Powell was no newcomer to this party. He had been for the last 
three years a close associate of Major-General Harrison, and had 



joined in the agitation in both Wales and London on behalf of the 
claims of the Fifth-monarchy. He believed in common with the 
Millenarians in the near approach of the second coming of Christ. 
This belief implied the urgent duty of preparing the way for the coming 
King. The Saints must endeavour to get the reins of government into 
their own hands, in addition to intensifying the work of propagating 
the Gospel. All earthly kingship was drawing towards its inevitable 
end, and the removal of Charles I was a sinister symbol of this. Hence 
the party with which Powell was associated were Republicans to a man. 

Towards the end of November 1653 trouble was already brewing. 
The Fifth-monarchists held their meetings with regularity at Black- 
friars. There, we are told, their preachers at this time spoke " against 
the present government, but especially against his excellency [i.e. 
Cromwell], calling him the man of sin, the old dragon, and many other 
scripture ill names ". The authorities were forced to take notice of 
these preachers, and after a weekly Monday lecture (possibly that of 
November 28), some of them, including their ring-leader, the intrepid 
Christopher Feake, were placed under arrest. When brought before 
Cromwell he explained that " it was his [i.e. Cromwell s] tampering 
with the King and his assuming exorbitant power, which made these 
disorders ". 2 Cromwell remained unruffled and, after giving them a 
warning, he set them free. 

If Cromwell was not the type of man to be alarmed by Christopher 
Feake, neither was Feake the type of man to take his orders from 
Cromwell. On Sunday, December 18, Feake joined with Powell to 
make a public attack on Cromwell. Their attack in its doctrinal 
aspect was based four-square on the Fifth-monarchy presuppositions ; 
but on the practical side it was an attack on Cromwell s honesty. 
He had broken his word. " Vavasor Powell and Feake . . . called 
him the dissembleingst (sic) perjured villaine in the world . . . " J 

On the Monday, December 19, Cromwell was formally proclaimed 
and Hugh Courtney, writing to Daniel Lloyd on the day following, 
says "... yesterday he was proclaimed with some pomp, not pleasing 
to many beholders, and much to my particular trouble in this whole 
business, Mr. Powell is very hearty, high and heavenly . . . " 4 

To realize exactly how hearty, high and heavenly Mr. Powell was, 
we must see what happened the previous night at Blackfriars. The 
Monday evening meeting was addressed by four people. The first, 
" who was very moderate ", was the minister of Shoreditch. Then 
came Christopher Feake, who preached on the little horn from Daniel 

1 J. Thurloe, State Papers, i.621. 

2 ibid. For Feake, see D.N.B. 
> Thurloe, i.641. 

* ibid., i.639 f. 


vii, and ended his argument by emphasising the failure of the little 
horn as described in vv.26, 27. He insisted that he was not naming 
anyone, but the little horn could hardly be mistaken for anyone but 
Cromwell, particularly when he went out of his way to correct those 
who thought that King Charles was the little horn. 

Powell was not as delicate as Feake. He preached from Daniel 
xi.20, 21. The King of the North is taken to be Charles I; then a 
collector of taxes shall appear only to be destroyed in a few days; 
and that neither in anger nor in battle or as Powell interprets it, 
" a small matter should fetch him down, with little noise ". " And 
here he took occasion to inveigh bitterly against the great commanders, 
as if they were the sole cause of taxes." The vile person of verse 21 
" he applied in a most pernicious manner to the present time ". He 
interprets " them that forsake the holy covenant " (v.30) as those 
who have gone back on their principles. The phrase " And arms 
shall stand on his part " (v.31) is taken to mean " the great army men 
and swordsmen " who support him. Daniel, as far as Powell could see, 
had prophesied only too clearly the course of events in 1653. But the 
particular application of the exegesis was to come. The sermon 
culminated in these words : 

Lord, have our army men all apostatized from their principles ? 
What is become of all their declarations, protestations, and 
professions ? Are they choked with lands, parks and manors ? 
Let us go home and pray, and say Lord wilt Thou have Oliver 
Cromwell or Jesus Christ to reign over us ? I know there are 
many gracious souls in the army, and of good principles, but the 
greater they grow, the more they are corrupted with lands and 
honours. I ll tell you a common proverb that we had among us 
of the General, that in the field he was the graciousest and most 
gallant man in the world, but out of the field, and when he came 
home to government, the worst. 

Such an outburst could not hope to escape the attention of the 
authorities, and possibly Powell was desirous of provoking Cromwell 
to some action against them. In any case the next point he makes 
reveals his fears that they would be refused permission to meet at 
Blackfriars and he adds : 

but then ... we can meet at another, and if we be driven from 
thence, we will meet at private houses, and if we cannot have 
liberty there, we will unto the fields; and if we be driven from 
thence, we will into corners; for we shall never give over, and 
God will not permit this spirit to go down, but will be the support 
of the spirits of his people. 

1 Daniel, xi.20. 


After an interruption from the gallery Mr. Cockaine preached, and 
then the meeting drew to a close. 1 

Even Powell s apologists in Wales were at a loss to explain and 
justify this outburst, when they attempted to defend their hero from 
the calumnies of Alexander Griffith. The only thing they could say 
was that Cromwell preferred Powell s criticism to Griffith s friendship 
a very moot point ! 2 

On December 21, being the Wednesday, Powell and Feake were 
arrested on warrants signed by the Lord President of the Council, 3 
and Thomas Harrison was also taken into custody. 4 After an enquiry, 
Powell and Feake were imprisoned and Harrison deprived of his 
commission. The Monday night meetings at Blackfriars were to cease, 
according to order issued on Thursday, December 22. Powell s 
imprisonment did not last lone, for, together with Feake, he was 
released on Christmas Eve.* rowell was never disposed to hold his 
peace at the behest of any government, and therefore took the oppor 
tunity of addressing a congregation on Christmas Day.* On 
January 9, Powell preached at Christ Church, but his fellow-country 
man, William Erbury, assures us that he had changed his tune, 
and was urging his brethren " to meddle no more with civil matters, 
but to speak of spiritual glories, which he held forth in the Reign of 
Christ, and his Saints with him on Earth ". 7 However, it was too late 
for Powell to propound peaceable discourses, for the government 
informers seem to have reported unfavourably on his speech and on 
January 10 a warrant was issued for his arrest. 8 Unruffled at this 
threat, Powell succeeded in addressing meetings at both Christ Church 
and Blackfriars, before making good his escape to Wales. 1 

This point marks the parting of the ways between the more con 
servative Independents, who felt that the only way to preserve order 
was to support Cromwell in his assumption of the Protectorate, and 
those Independents who were prepared to carry the Revolution a step 
further. In Powell s career, it marks the end of any co-operation on 
his part with government authorities with a view to settling the religious 

In Wales, Powell was soon hard at work organizing opposition. 
He threw himself with his customary energy into the task. On 
Friday, February 10, in company with John Williams and Morris 

Condensed from Col. State Paper* Dom., xlii.304 ff. 

For George Cokayn, R. of St. Pancras, Soper Lane, see D.N.B.: Cal. Rev. 

Vavasoris Examen (1654), p. 29, in answer to Griffith s Strena Vavasoriensis, p. 13. 

Council Order Books, quoted by John Stoughton, History of Religion in England, ii.69, n.f . 

Thurloe, i.641. 

Cal. State Pap. Dom., 1653/4, p.309. 

J. H. Davies, introd. to Gweithiau Morgan Llwyd, ii.lxviii f. 

William Erbury, Testimony, pp.186 f. 

Cal. State Pap. Dom., 1653/4, p. 309. 

Faithful Scout, Jan. 27 Feb. 3, 1653/4 ; Cal. State Pap. Dom. 1653/4, p.353. 


Griffiths, he was preaching at Llanddewi Brefi in Cardiganshire. 
Williams made no bones about his opposition to Cromwell, and he 
recalled that he and his fellow-members of " the last parliament made 
an act, that there should be no king or protector in England; and 
that it was treason for to name or proclaim any protector in England 
by reason that they had made a statute against it". Powell reiterated 
his determination that he would " never submit to any government 
but that which is according to God s word ". 

By February 26, John Williams and Powell were back in New 
Radnor. Amongst the auditors on this occasion were the High Sheriff 
and four county magistrates. Williams again spoke with vehemence 
against the new order, but Powell was more moderate, and contented 
himself with urging his hearers to persevere " to the death ".* 
Powell, after all, was by no means the hasty fanatic he is sometimes 
represented as being. He possessed deeply held convictions, and 
spared no energy in defending and propagating them. But he was 
sagacious. One indication of his very real power in Central Wales 
at this time is the interesting complaint in the intercepted letters that 
" noe man dare send uppe any charge against him " because the new 
justices of the peace were both his supporters and members of his 
church. The consequence was that they and the High Sheriff followed 
" him from place to place " on his speaking tours. 3 Moreover, Morgan 
Llwyd came down from Wrexham to assist in the campaign. 4 

Those who were disposed to be suspicious found material in plenty 
to justify their fears. If Powell and his henchmen said such wild 
things in public, what did they not say in the private meetings of the 
church ? And why was Richard Powell " repairing and scouring 
his pistols " and setting them in order at the smithy in Ffynnongynid ? 
It was no surprise that such a man should refuse to read the Acts 
sent down from London. 4 Others besides Richard Powell were 
polishing their pistols, for it was reported that people sympathetic to 
Vavasor were gathering at " Kingston and elsewhere ", though as 
yet only in " small parties ". And was it not known that Vavasor 
himself had ridden three horses to death in one night ? 7 What was 
this business that demanded such haste, unless it was insurrection ? 
But the would-be revolutionaries did not despise more democratic 
and peaceful means of promoting their cause, for there was a petition 
set on foot in the Spring of 1654. This petition was countenanced by 
the magistrates and the High Sheriff, and involved some corres- 

J. Phillips to John Gunter in Thurloe, ii.93. 

Robert Holle to Alexander Griffith in Thurloe, ii.128. 

Mr. Lloyd to Mr. Henry ( = Alexander) Griffith in Thurloe, ii.124. 

Charles Roberts to John Gunter, ibid., p. 129. 

ibid., p. 124. 

ibid., p.93. 

ibid., p.128 March 2, 1653/4. 


pondence which fell into the eager hands of Vavasor Powell s adversary, 
Alexander Griffith. 1 

But the activity came to a sudden stop on April 11, for on that 
day fourteen people, with Powell at their head, were ordered to appear 
at the Montgomery assizes as signatories of a petition. We have no 
means of knowing what happened to them, for a year passes before 
we hear anything of Powell s activities. And when we see him again, 
he seems to have performed a surprising volte-face. The Spring of 
1655 was the period of Royalist unrest, and in consequence a time of 
anxiety for the Protectorate. A party of Royalists were in North Wales 
under the leadership of Colonel Macowen. They moved southwards 
until they were almost in Welshpool, and who should repulse them 
there but Vavasor Powell ? It appears that he had some prior in 
formation of this intended revolt, and had sent warning to the Wrexham 
reserves. The battle seems to have been very much in the hands of 
Powell, who drawing his men up for the attack, " and dividing them 
into three Bodies, drew forth a Forlorn Hope, charging himself in the 
van of them, and three times forced his passage through and through, 
till at last he received some small hurt ..." After a momentary 
retreat, he was reinforced by the Wrexham reserve, and " he again 
charged with so puissant a courage and magnanimity of the spirit, that 
the Enemy was no way able to resist his furious onset, but immediately 
declined engagement, and betook themselves to flight . . . " 2 In the 
rout he took 130 prisoners. 

This episode tells us something about Powell. It shows where his 
deepest allegiance lay. There was no question of his sympathizing 
with the Royalists, and there is little doubt that Cromwell knew this 
quite well and was prepared to deal leniently at all times with the 
restless Powell. But the episode also suggests why a careful eye had 
to be kept on Powell. He had the support of some kind of armed force, 
and the ready assistance of some, at least, of the inhabitants of Central 
Wales. The reports of the informers had not been completely mis 
leading. And in a letter addressed to John Rogers early in 1655, 
there was optimistic talk of " twenty thousand saints in Wales ready 
to hazard their blood in defence of their cause." 3 This episode also 
probably explains why no action followed the summons sent to Powell 
to appear before the Council of State early in 1655. 4 After all, a 
man who had performed such signal service could not be called to 
book by the Protectorate he had helped to defend, whatever his past 
indiscretions may have been. 

ibid., p.174 March 17, 1653/4. 

2 A true and full Relation of The great Rising in the North and West of England For The 

King of Scots (London, 1655), p.4. 

1 J. H. Davits, introd. to Gweithiau Morgan Llwyd, ii.lxx. 
* ibid. 


It soon became apparent that Powell had not set aside his objections 
to the Protectorate. James Berry, the Major-General for Wales, 
reports to Thurloe on November 17, 1655 that Powell had been to 
Worcester. Sometime during the next few days Berry interviewed 
Powell and told him that the Protector had wind of " some designe " 
that was afoot in Wales, and that he expected Powell to give some 
account of it. Powell insisted that he and his friends were not con 
cerned in any design " that tended to put things to distraction ", 
and that he would rather " suffer any death " than take part in any 
such things. He admitted that they were preparing a petition to be 
presented to the Protector, the purpose of which was to move the 
heart of the Protector and to publish their dissatisfaction with him. 
The latter purpose sounded ominous to Berry, but Powell warned him 
that, if he were imprisoned, the Royalists would rejoice, and the saints 
would send up a torrent of prayer against the ruling powers. Berry 
admitted the seriousness of displeasing the saints, but at the same time 
if he felt that he was doing his duty then he would trust in Providence 
for protection. He expected the support of such people as Powell. 
He granted Powell permission to preach on the S mday following at 
Worcester, and the preacher delivered himself of four honest and 
sober sermons. That Sunday evening, Powell dined with the Major- 
General, and on parting assured him that " it was neither his purpose 
or practice to preach anything tending to factions ". 

Between this Sunday and the end of the month, the petition was 
presented to Cromwell. Berry continued to treat the matter lightly, 
and (like many statesmen in subsequent generations) explained it as 
an example of Celtic exuberance: " Pray you beare a little with our 
Brittish zeale. A little more understanding would do us noe harme in 
those parts". 2 But when Berry saw a copy of the petition, he was taken 
aback to find " soe unhansome a thing " from Powell and his 

The document in question bore the title A WORD for GOD, or a 
testimony on truth s behalf, from several churches, and diverse hundreds 
of Christians in Wales (and some few adjacent) against wickednesse in 
high places, with a letter to the lord general Cromwell. It was, not 
unnaturally, greeted with joy in some circles, and it achieved a wide 
circulation in London/ in Ireland and throughout the Commonwealth. 1 
It was read by Cornet Day and John Sympson to " a meeting of over 
500 persons " at All Hallows the Great. In consequence Day was 

Thurloe, iv.211 and 228. 
ibid., p.272. 
ibid., pp.393-4. 
ibid., p.373. 
ibid., p.505. 


arrested, but Sympson made good his escape. 1 It is perhaps no 
wonder that Powell was "likewise in custody concerning it," 2 though 
we have no further information about his imprisonment. 

The document opens by expressing the feeling of the petitioners 
that the " good things covenanted and contended for " in the great 
Rebellion have been betrayed. Cromwell s assumption of the Pro 
tectorate has led many of his supporters to suspect his past intentions, 
" and his actions for the future ". They therefore urge him to consider 
his actions as one who will one day give answer before the judgment- 
seat of God, to whom all our intentions are known. The petition 
proper contains two sections. The first is an apologia on behalf of 
the petitioners. Just as the War was a witnessing against the super 
stitions of prelacy, so is this petition a witnessing on behalf of conscience. 
Already the Acts passed against " Kingly government " are being 
forgotten, and those who were eager to pass such Acts in times gone 
by are equally eager now to betray them. The second section gives a 
list of grievances. The Old Cause is betrayed and in consequence 
many of God s people are in prison. Heavy taxes are continued, and 
many of the vices which were condemned under the monarchy such 
as "the receiving of honours, profits, customs, benefits, tenths " 
and the " exalting of sons, servants, friends and favourites " continue 
unabated. All this means that the people have overthrown one un 
righteous government in order to exalt another equally unrighteous 
one, which, certainly, was not their intention. The petitioners, in 
conclusion, disclaim any participation in the works of the present 
rulers. Then follow their names 322 in all. 

This petition provides us with an indication of the nature and 
extent of Powell s following. The bulk of the signatories come from 
Central Wales, from Montgomery, Brecon and Radnor. In addition 
there is a substantial section from Wrexham, though the supposition 
that the great Morgan Llwyd was a signatory must now be abandoned 
in the face of newly-discovered evidence. 4 Some of the subscribers 
came from Monmouthshire, and Jeffrey Parry of Rhydolion in 
Caernarvonshire appended his name. It is possible that the John 
Williams who signed is Parry s neighbour of Tynycoed, Caernarvon 
shire. 5 The most striking name amongst the signatories is that of 
Richard Baxter. But the supposition that the great Kidderminster 
pastor supported Vavasor Powell at this juncture will hardly bear 
examination. True enough, Richard Baxter was Catholic in his 

The Clarke Papers, ed. C. H. Firth, iii.62 December 22, 1655. 


e.g. by T. Richards, Religions Development* in Wales, p.219; J. H. Davies, introd. to 

Gweithiau Morgan Llwyd, ii.lxx. 

National Library of Wales, MS. 11, 436D. 

For these and the other Welshmen named in this paper reference may now be made to 

the authoritative Bywgraffiadur Cymreig (1953). 


sympathies, and was not above criticizing the Protector s policy. 
But there is no corroborating evidence of Baxter s sympathy with 
Powell, and there is definite evidence that he considered Powell and 
his itinerant preachers to be " certainly worse than False Prophets ". 
Moreover, there was a Richard Baxter amongst the conventiclers of 
Llanllwchaiarn and Llandyssil in 1668-9 2 who had listened to Powell 
preaching at Manafon 1 and who would be far more likely to sign a 
petition of this kind than the Puritan of Kidderminster. So, it may be 
concluded that Powell had no widespread support, except in the area 
where his ministry was most felt. On the other hand, since his 
supporters numbered many Congregationalists, Miss L. F. Brown s 
belief that the Fifth-monarchy Movement in Wales " was generally 
considered a Baptist one " 4 finds no support in the evidence. 

In fact, the Puritans of Wales were firmly behind the Protector. 
Their loyalty was demonstrated in a counter-petition, whose main 
inspirer was Walter Cradock, the leader of the moderate Independents 
in Wales. This bore the title, The Humble REPRESENTATION and 
ADDRESS to His Highness of several Churches and Christians in 
SOUTH-WALES, and MONMOUTH-Shire. A study of the 762 
signatures reveals the strength of the wing opposed to Powell. Besides 
Cradock, Richard Charnock, Henry Walter, Rice Williams, Edmund 
Ellis, Henry Nichols, Marmaduke Matthews and Peregrine Phillips 
were amongst the distinguished leaders of Welsh Puritanism who 
added their names. They held sway mostly in the counties of Caer- 
marthen, Glamorgan and Monmouth, where Powell had very little 

Although Powell never wavered in his faith in the Millenarian creed, 
A Word for God marks the beginning of the end as regards any hope 
he may have had of organizing opposition to Cromwell in Wales. 
We hear from a letter which was written by Sir Richard Pryse from 
Gogerddan to his father-in-law Bulstrode Whitelocke that Powell 
addressed a meeting of " at least four hundred persons out of seven 
or eight severall countyes of Wales " in the neighbourhood of Llan- 
badarnfawr, Cards., in June 1656;* but this was the last appearance 
of the movement as an organized campaign. 

This attempt to organize opposition to Oliver Cromwell tells us 
much about the religious life of Wales at this period, and even more 
about its central character, Vavasor Powell. We see a lively Indepen 
dency in the border country of Central Wales, and we may note also 
that the peculiar tenets of the Fifth-monarchists had received a welcome 

Anon., A Winding- Sheet for Mr. Baxter s Dead, p.9. 

Original Records, ed. G. Lyon Turner, i.3, 4. 

v. Examen, p. 20. 

L. F. Brown, Baptists and Fifth Monarchy Men, p. 203. 

Thurloe, v.112. 


amongst them. The profound interest in public affairs, a feature 
which Independency has never lost, is seen at its keenest. But at the 
same time, we can discern a lack of staying power in the agitators. 
It can be shown that many of the leading supporters of A Word for God 
were soon prepared to accept ecclesiastical appointments at the hands 
of the authority they had protested so much against. Powell himself 
stands out clearly in the drama. His restless energy and uncompromis 
ing religious idealism are evident in the ceaseless wandering to and 
fro and in the pages of A Word for God. His unreadiness to acquiesce 
in the deeds of any government authority which he did not approve is 
obvious. At the same time, he shows a lack of diplomacy and modera 
tion, which is the very antithesis of the spirit shown by Cradock. 
He pursued his objective, even at the cost of splitting the Puritan 
movement in Wales. Neither treasured friendships nor awe for 
constituted authority nor the welfare of the churches deterred him 
from serving the cause to which he felt himself drawn. This was one 
of the factors which put him in the front rank of the first generation 
of Welsh Independents. And Independency will be lost, if ever the 
day dawns when it fails to produce men who are prepared to put the 
demands of conscience above all others. 


The Controversy concerning Kneeling 
in the Lord s Supper after 1604. 

THE code of Canons framed by Convocation in 1604, and given 
royal authority in the same year, brought to a head the Puritan 
opposition to the imposition of human ceremonies in worship, 
and gave rise to a small but significant Nonconformist movement 
among certain sections of the Anglican clergy a movement which 
had increasingly close links with those who had already adopted the 
Separatist way. The Canons, which still form the basis of Anglican 
ecclesiastical law, although in the main based on previous enactments 
being drawn from the old canon law, the medieval English contribution 
thereto, and more general legislation of the Western Church contained 
much which was new, much that bore the distinctive marks of the age. 
It was ceitain of these latter additions which gave rise to the revolt 
referred to. 

Even before 1604 certain ceremonies in worship had occasioned 
considerable debate, viz., kneeling in the act of receiving the Holy 
Communion, the wearing of the cope and surplice, and the use of the 
Cross in Baptism; but these ceremories had been accorded no formal 
canonical sanction. When the Canons demanded subscription, some 
of the Puritan clergy rebelled, and the result was a bitter pamphlet war 
waged both within the establishment and also between Anglican 
apologists and those who had already taken the Separatist position. 

The battle began in the diocese of Lincoln, with the submission to 
the King by a group of clergy of an apology for their refusal to subscribe 
(this work will be considered below), and was taken up later in the 
dioceses of Exeter and Chester. Meanwhile, there came from Amster 
dam pamphlets written by such men as William Bradshaw and 
William Ames. Most of the contestants dealt with the ceremonies in 
general. In this paper attention is confined to that part of the con 
troversy which dealt with the posture in receiving the elements at the 
Holy Communion. (In passing it may be noted that the number of 

1 cf. A Parte of a Register (1593), p.410 : " But kneeling at the Communion is voide 
either of commandment or example out of the wprde : so let them shew either the one 
or the other out of it if they can, and then we will yeeld : nay rather in the celebration 
of the sacraments of the old and new Testament, wee shall never see this gesture either 
comanded by God himself, or enjoyned or used by the godlie ones . . . Therefore this 
kneeling is not to be used at the receiving of the Communion." 




clergy deposed as a result of this controversy is variously estimated as 
about 50 by the Laudian historian Peter Heylyn, and as about 300 400 
by the Puritan writer John Burgess.) 

William Bradshaw, 2 one of the most vigorous pamphleteers of the 
age, was soon in the field with a brief work. 3 Bradshaw had been 
much influenced by Cartwright during his years at Cambridge, and 
had frequently been in trouble during the days of Whitgift and 
Bancroft for his refusal to subscribe to the ceremonies. Although not 
technically a Separatist, he yet insisted on the autonomy of individual 
congregations. His attack on the ceremonies was short : "a certaine 
printed libell, of not above two sheetes of paper ", as an opponent 
describes it, " published I wot not by whom, and printed I know not 
where, but doubtlesse beyond the sea (for the printer wanted an 
English corrector) ".* 

Bradshaw deals briefly but comprehensively with several of the 
main Puritan objections to kneeling at Holy Communion. In the 
first place he argues, and here he is at one with almost all who opposed 
the Canons, that, " kneeling is contrarie to the example of Christ, 
and his Apostles, who ministred and received sitting, or in such a 
gesture, as in those countryes was most used at eating. From which 
example to differ, without warrant from Gods word cannot be without 
fault ". 5 This kind of argument is typical of the controversial literature 
of the 17th century, with its appeal to the letter of Scripture for guidance 
for both the form and the content of Christian life and worship. 
As it is clearly stated in Scripture that Christ and his disciples sat 
(or, at least, reclined) at the Last Supper, it appeared self-evident to 
the Puritan mind that it must be a sin not to follow that example. 
Furthermore, Bradshaw asserts later that, as Christ sat down after 
rising to wash the Apostles feet, it was clear that the sitting was 
intentional, it was an explicit example. 

Consequently, kneeling at the Communion must be a mere human 
institution. " It is to be understood, that, howsoever Kneeling may 
(in itself considered) be esteemed a naturall gesture of the body, as 
standing, sitting etc., yet in this case, it is by Institution of man. 
For neither nature nor custome, doth teach us ordinarily to knele 
when we eate and drinke neither doth the word require Kneeling 
in this case ". The practice of the Separatists, as of the more radical 
Puritans, was to sit as they received the Elements, which were carried 
from one to another. Sonic supporters of kneeling argued that it 
was a matter of indifference whether the receivers knelt or sat, but in 

1571 IftlS : cf. Diet. Nat. Hiog.. j.r. 

A Proposition concerning Kneeling in the very act of receiving (1605). 

T. Rogers, Tti o Dialogues, Preface. 

A Proposition . . ., p. 7. 

ibid., p. ?. 



reply to this Bradshaw falls back upon the example of Christ, asking 
why he sat, if kneeling was equally, or more, fitting. 

Turning from the Gospels to the letters of St. Paul, Bradshaw finds 
in the apostle s objection to the misuse of the Agape at Corinth (cf. 
1 Cor. xi.22 f.) another argument against kneeling : " if the Apostle 
banished Love feastes from the Lords Supper, because of the abuse, 
and brought the Church to the simplicitie of the first institution, Is 
it not a tempting sinne to retaine the Idolatrous kneeling of Papistes, 
and reject the exemplary sitting of our Master Christ ? " 7 The word 
tempting here points to one of the strongest underlying reasons for the 
Puritan opposition to kneeling. It was a temptation to idolatry, for 
it was too much like the adoration of the host at the Roman Mass. 
" How can wee imagine, that Christ hath any honor by our kneeling ? ", 
Bradshaw continues, " Seeing that it swarveth from the practice of all 
reformed Churches except in England, which the Papistes themselves 
call Puritan papisticall ". The reforming zeal of earlier days was 
not dead, Papacy was still a real enemy to be countered at every turn, 
and any trace of Popery gave rise to violent reactions. To dub a 
ceremony Papist was to damn it out of hand. 

Bradshaw puts the position with clarity and with point. " if 
kneeling be instituted for reverence in regard of bread and wine, it 
must be either because they represent the body and bloud of Christ, . . . 
or, because Christ is really, bodily and locally, though invisibly, 
present in them, either by Transubstantiation ... or by consubstan- 
tiation . . . but in regard of a reall, and bodily presence, a sound 
protestant should infer, But I detest your reall presence, therefore I 
abhore your Idolatrous kneeling. We are to abhorre kneeling . . . 
because it is the shew of the greatest evils that ever were, viz. Idolatry 
in worshipping a god made of a piece of bread ". As kneeling had 
come to be associated with the adoration of the sacramental elements 
on Roman altars, it could hardly be used without danger; for it was 
a standing temptation to idolatry. In fact, the writer concludes, 
" It may be averred, that kneeling in the very acte of Taking, eating, 
and drinking the sacramentall bread and wine, in the Holy Communion, 
cannot be without sinne." 10 

This brief pamphlet, full of much sound sense (a feature not always 
evident in many other works of the battle of words), was answered 
by Thomas Rogers," Rector of Horningsheath (or Horringer) in 
Suffolk, who is better known as the author of a work entitled The 
English Creed, and as a pamphleteer in the Sabbatarian controversy. 

7 ibid., pp.8/9. 

ibid., p.9. 

ibid., pp. 20/1. 
10 ibid., p. 29. 

" d. 1616 : cf. D..\.B., f.v. 



He was an Oxford man who became chaplain to Archbishop Bancroft. 
His reply, 12 from the preface of which a comment concerning Brad- 
shaw s book has already been quoted, contains in the first dialogue 
his persuasion of Master Seffray of the county of Suffolk as to the 
error of his ways, and in the second his attempt to convince Bradshaw 
of his error. It is a repetitious work and cannot be reckoned among 
the best of the Anglican defences, but it illustrates a few of the argu 
ments employed. In reply to Bradshaw s contention that Christ s 
example at the Last Supper must be followed, Rogers asserts : " Nay 
rather to bind us necessarily to the example of Christ in all ceremoniall 
matters, without warrant from Gods word, cannot be without great 
offence . . . what hee instituted is alwayes and necessarily to bee done, 
but not what he did. For his actions serve for our instruction alwayes, 
but not for imitation ever ". 3 This sounds modern, and suggests a 
20th century theologian rather than a 17th century controversialist. 
It is a reminder of the fact that the Anglican scholars of the time laid 
great stress on the authority of the Church in such matters; the 
Church had power to order the ceremonies of the Church, and was not 
necessarily bound by New Testament practice. Jesus may \\ell have 
sat, but as he did not actually institute sitting as the essential mode of 
receiving, the Church had every right to enjoin kneeling as being the 
appropriate posture for participants in the Sacrament. Further, 
Rogers argues, " our kneeling ... is from the word of God originally, 
though instituted by man, inasmuch as God is the fountaine of all 
decent orders in His Church . . . ." 4 

The most attractive aspect of Rogers work lies not in his specific 
replies to Bradshaw s argument, but in his honest and open-minded 
admission that, " Sitting and kneeling are but outward ceremonies, 
nothing to the substance of Religion, concerning the true communion 
with Christ and his Church at all, and of themselves indifferent, did 
not the godly magistrate enjoine the one and prohibit the other "." 
" We condemne not other churches for their not Kneeling; neither 
doth any church, nor should you Schismatikes condemne ours for our 
Kneeling "," he remarks. He thus defended kneeling in England 
not from the point of view of orthodoxy but on the score of Church 
order, and from a somewhat Erastian point of view. 

Rogers indignantly denies the accusation of Idolatry. He writes, 
" as therefore it is not the Kneeling, but the impious conceits wherewith 
their hearts bee proffessed and replenished, when they approch to 
the Sacrament, that maketh the Papists to be Idolaters : so neither 

11 Ttoo dialogues or Conferences (1608). 

11 ibid.. Sect. 4. (N.B. all quotations are from the Second Dialogue). 

ibid., Sect. 1. 

" ibid., Sect. 5. 




doth our Kneeling exclude us from all Communion with Christ, and 
his Church; nor your Sitting, that joyneth you in fellowship with the 
same. As grosse Idolatrie may you commit in not Kneeling, as any 
persons ever did, or as the Papists now doe in Kneeling ", 17 To 
this the reply might well be that though in theory this is true, men are 
frail mortals and are easily influenced by outward ceremonies for good 
or ill. Many opponents of kneeling were in effect saying that the very 
participation in the ceremony might well influence the hearts of the 
worshippers by reason of the obvious association of the posture. 

In the South-West a number of the Devon and Cornwall clergy had 
submitted to William Cotton, Bishop of Exeter, a work entitled Reasons 
for Refusal of Subscription to the Booke of Common Prayer (1606). 
The task of replying to the objections was entrusted to Thomas Hutton, 
Rector of Northlew, Devon. 18 Hutton was a Londoner by birth and 
was educated at St. John s College, Oxford. He was instituted to the 
living of St. Kew, Cornwall, in 1600, and, partly as a reward for his 
zealous defence of the Prayer Book, was made a Prebendary of Exeter 
in 1616. The ministers Reasons for RefusaU are included in Hutton s 
reply. 19 They had argued that " To receive the sacrament kneeling is 
dangerous for minister, and people, in respect of law, in respect of 
God, religion, and conscience. Of law for the minister is charged by a 
statute Elizabeth 13 to subscribe to the articles of religion etc. upon 
paine of deprivation. But the 28 article commaundes that the sacrament 
must not be worship t. Ergo to minister to the people kneeling is to 
be in danger of the law ". 20 They argued further that " This kneeling 
to the Sacrament was brought into the Sacrament by Antichrist, the 
man of sinne, Pope Honorius the third An. 1220 teaching the people 
thereby to worshippe the bread, and all to be-god it ". 21 (This point 
appears again and again in later Puritan works). Further, " The 
Papists would not kneele, if their Idols were not there, no more would 
men kneele, if the bread, and sacraments were not there." 22 In this 
the Devon and Cornwall ministers appear to have been too blunt, and 
by no means fair to their opponents. In any case, Hutton can reply 
with point that kneeling at prayer is a posture acceptable to all we 
kneel when there is no Sacrament present. 

In 1608 another writer entered the lists, Samuel Hieron, vicar of 
Modbury in Devon. 23 Like so many other Puritans, Hieron was a 
Cambridge man (King s College). ". . . although he was upon Scripture- 

7 ibid., 

15661639: cf. D.N.B., s.v. 

The Second and Last Parts . . .with an annoere . . . (1606). 

" ibid., p.51. 

ibid., p.52. 

" ibid., p.53. 

1576? 1617 : cf. D.N.B., s.v. 



grounds a conscientious Nonconformist, and disaffected to ye ceremonys 
and Liturgy, yet he was no Brownist. He was for a Reformation of, 
not a Separation from ye Church of England." 24 After his presentation 
to the living of Modbury in 1600, he soon showed the typically Puritan 
attitude to preaching. " No sooner was He come unto his cure, but 
he preached twice on ye Lord s Day. Preaching was at that time a 
very great rarity, and his most excellent and elaborate sermons were 
heard with astonishment and admiration ". 2S He proved a vigorous 
opponent of the Ceremonies, being suspended five times for his 
refusal to subscribe, though he was never deprived of his living. 2 

Hieron, in addition to being a vigorous preacher, was also a volumin 
ous writer. 27 Besides the books subscribed with his name, there are 
also two other anonymous works which are ascribed to him by John 
Quick in his Icones. 2 Concerning A Dispute upon the question of 
Kneeling, Quick records; " Nor indeed was that Work printed in 
England. The Bishops at that time would not suffer it. Wherefore 
he sent ye copy into ye Netherlands, got it printed there; and it was 
sent over packt up in ye goods of an eminent Merchant of Plymouth, 
old Mr. T. Sherwill. And being arrived no Bookseller durst vend it. 
So that ye copys were dispersed abroad in ye Kingdome after this 
manner. Some were sent superscribed to ye 26 Bishops, and unto 
other of his antagonists, and to sundry Persons in ye Citty and 
Universitys. Some copys were dropt on purpose in ye very streets, 
others left at ye doors of Schollars and learned Ministers. Some were 
hung upon hedges in ye high way. And thus ye whole impression was 
freely and generously given away ", 29 

Hieron s book is one of the most interesting and most valuable 
contributions to this controversy, revealing a keen mind and a devout 
spirit. It attempts to give a reply not only to Thomas Hutton s book 
against the ministers of Devon and Cornwall, but also to Thomas 
Rogers Two Dialogues to Dr. Sparke, 31 and to Dr. Covell." Hieron 
stresses one aspect of the Lord s Supper which many modern Free 

24 J. Quick, Icones Sacrae Anglicanae (1697) i.57 (MS. in Dr. Williams Library.) 

" ibid., i.58. 

26 His grandson, Samuel, was ejected from Feniton, Devon, in 1662 (ibid., i.97; Cal. Rev.). 

27 Thomas Fuller called him " a powerful preacher in his printed works ". 

2 * Icones, i.85. The books referred to are : A Dispute upon the Question of kneeling in 
the Acte of Receiving the Sacramentall Bread and Wine (1608) and A Short Dialogue 
betwixt a Formalist and Minister (1605). 

29 Icones, i 85 Quick further relates that his information was derived from Hieron s 
grandson, Samuel, and from William Pearse the ejected vicar of Dunsford, Devon, 
whose Father was intrusted with ye scattering and disposeall ". 

1 cf. supra 

31 Thomas Sparke (15481616), Rector of Bletchley, Bucks., had been Chaplain to 
Bishop Cooper of Lincoln. He had long been a representative of the Puritans, and 
appeared at the Hampton Court Conference of 1603 in that role. Thereafter he 
became an apologist for conformity and wrote A Brotherly Perswasion to Unitie and 

Uniformity (1607). cf. D.N.B., s.v. 
William Covel 

;11 (d.1614?), Vicar of Sittingbourne, Kent, and later sub-dean of Lincoln : 
cf. D.N.B., s.v. His work was entitled A briefe Answer unto Certaine Reasons . . . by 
Mr. John Burgess (1606). 



Churchmen would wish to stress, the fact that it is a banquet at which 
partakers are invited to sit as guests with Christ himself as the host. 
The Communion aspect of the Sacrament (communion with each 
other and with the Lord) was vital to Hieron, and it was in defence of 
this that he attacked the posture of kneeling to partake of the bread 
and wine. Here in fact it is possible to detect a difference between the 
Anglican and Puritan viewpoints which goes much deeper than mere 
outward ceremony. Whereas to the former the Sacrament was primarily 
a sacrifice at which the worshippers humbly and gratefully accepted 
the benefits of Christ s passion, to the latter it was essentially an act of 
fellowship with the Risen Lord. It might be put in this way : to the 
Anglican apologist the Passion and Death were uppermost, to the 
Puritan it was the Resurrection which was the starting point of 
devotion." The Sacrament was a foretaste of the heavenly Banquet 
spread for those who are invited to partake. " None bearing the 
person of a coheir and guest with Christ at his table, ought to Kneele 
in the act of receiving the Sacrament thereat ", 34 Hieron affirms. 
" Kneeling to receive the Sacrament, is an action that crosseth a 
special end for which Christ instituted his Supper "," he continues 
(i.e. the assurance to us of our coheirship with Christ). " Kneeling is 
an action, whereby we are debarred, from partaking with Christ the 
invitant, in the liberties and prerogatives of his Table "." The banquet 
of the Lord being spread, it is the privilege of those who are invited 
to it to sit down with him as honoured guests, and it would be improper 
not to use the appropriate " table gesture ". " Kneeling in the act of 
our banketing at the Lords Table, is a personal carriage repugnant 
to the law of nature "." Hieron adds that kneeling is, in addition, 
an act of private worship, which is clearly out of place at public 

Like others before him, the writer regarded Pope Honorius as the 
introducer of kneeling, " about the year 1220 ", and was sure that it 
was introduced, " for the worshipping of a forged and breaden Messiah, 
first brought into practise in the Church by that Antichrist of Rome ". 
He who kneels, Hieron continues, " imparteth to a creature some 
honor onely due unto God and so breaketh the second commande- 
ment "." In reply to an assertion by Dr. Covell that the best Reformed 
Churches permit kneeling, Hieron replies with some vigour that this 
was true only of the Lutherans, who, like Anglicans and Papists, 
believed in a Real Presence. In other words, for them, as for Rome, the 

33 cf. John Buckeridge, infra. 

34 A dispute upon the question of Kneeling, p.6. 

35 ibid., p.17. 
3 ibid., p.22. 
" ibid., p.36. 
" ibid., p.67. 
3 ibid., p.51. 



Sacrament was essentially worship of a " breaden God ". For the 
true Reformed Churches, however, it was a banquet spread for all 
who believe, a foretaste of the Heavenly Feast. Thus, without pride, 
yet with confidence and hope, believers ought to accept the gracious 
invitation and sit down with their Lord, not to transgress his command. 

Some ten years after the appearance of Hieron s book, John 
Buckeridge, Bishop of Rochester, 40 wrote a reply. 4 Buckeridge 
belonged to Lancelot Andrewes school, which was firmly opposed to 
both Popery and Puritanism; and as one of King James favourites 
he was influential in opposing attacks from both those quarters. In 
the course of his Discourse he points out that there were other aspects 
of the Sacrament which opponents of kneeling had neglected. In 
particular the Sacrament involves petition, and kneeling is the right 
posture for petitioners. Furthermore, it involves the offering of royal 
gifts, and it is right to kneel when accepting such gifts. It is a sacrifice 
which calls for humility in the offering, and humility is best shown by 
kneeling. Buckeridge appeals to the practice of the Early Church as 
negative proof that sitting is not essential. " Standing at prayer, 
and at the Lords Supper was in use in the Primitive Church, by the 
testimonies of Fathers, and the decrees of Councels : Therefore, 
Sitting is not the gesture of the Communicants at the Lords Supper "/* 
He puts into words something which, as referred to above, seems to 
have been at the root of the controversy. " Wee come to this Sacra 
ment, not to celebrate the memorie of Christs Resurrection, nor our 
confidence of rising together with him, but in remembrance of his 
death, and Passion; . . . Therefore, though we stand at Prayer to 
celebrate Christs Resurrection, yet we ought to kneel in all humilitie, 
at the receiving of this Sacrament, in remembrance of his death, and 
Passion ". 4 * May this not be an accurate summary of the real issue 
at stake in the controversy ? The differences in outward observance 
reflected actual differences in theology. The controversy was not 
just barren logomachy, something vital was at stake. 

Reference has already been made to the fact that it was among the 
ministers of the diocese of Lincoln that objections to the Prayer Book 
ceremonies first arose. An abridgement of the book which was 
delivered to King James I in December 1604 was issued in 1605, 
giving in summary form the main objections. It provides a convenient 
outline of the moderate Puritan position, and at the same time is 

40 1562? 1631. Buckeridge was Laud s predecessor as President of St. John s College, 
Oxford, and had been his tutor. He became Bishop of Rochester in 1611, and was 
translated to Ely in 1628. cf. D.N.B., s.v. 

41 A Sermon preached before His Majestic at Whitehall, March 22, 1617 ... to which is 
added a Discourse concerning kneeling at the Communion (1618). 

ibid., p.141. 
" ibid., p.145. 



interesting as giving rise to one of the most detailed of all the apologies 
for the practice of kneeling. 44 

The general Puritan view is summed up in this way : " It is contrary 
to Gods Word to use (much more to command the use of) such 
ceremonyes in the worship of God as man hath devised if they be 
notoriously known to have been of old and still to be abused unto 
Idolatry or Superstition of the Papists specially if the same be now 
of noe necessary use in the church ". 4S " . . . the retainyng of the 
Popish Ceremonyes will certainly be a meanes to indaunger the 
doctrine that we professe, and to bring the people back againe to 
Popery ". 4f The danger of Idolatry is stressed in connection with the 
Papists belief in Transubstantiation. " Kneeling ... is dayly used 
by the papists in the worship of their breaden God, and that as an 
act of Idolatry, with a most idolatrous intent and meanyng, even upon 
this ground that the bread is become god. Yea, the practise of the 
Church in the use of this gesture is made by the learndest papists 
(even : Aquinas : Harding : Bellarmyne : Bish. Watson and others) 
one of their strongest arguments to iustifie that their Idolatrous conceipt 
of transubstantiation, because else (saith they) the Church should 
commit Idolatry in kneeling before the elements .... Thus also have 
our learned Divines judged of the original and abuse of the gesture, 
and by this reason have condemned it ... " 47 In support of their 
contention, the Lincoln Ministers refer among others to Calvin . 4t 

Like other opponents, these Puritans opposed kneeling on the 
grounds that it breaks the second commandment 49 ; that, being a 
human ceremony, it is unlawful 50 ; and that it is inexpedient." In 
regard to the danger that the imposition of the ceremony would 
encourage superstition and the apologists reply that this could be 
avoided by right teaching, the ministers retort : " It is neither safe 
nor lawfull for a man (as D. Fulk in one place saith well) wilfully to 
digg a pitt, breake a bridge, or laye a logg in the way, and then cry out 
and saye, O take heed you fall not. We must stop holes and not make 
them, take away stumbling blocks, not laye them, and then bid men 
beware of them "." This work is full of sound sense and sober 
argument, and reveals a fine appreciation of the dangers of the age 
for the faith of the ordinary folk. Ceremonies, though indifferent in 
themselves, do illustrate attitudes of heart and mind and may well 

44 A Defence of the Innocencie of the three Ceremonies of the Church of England, by Thomas 
Morton, Bishop of Chester (2nd. imp. 1619). 

45 An Abridgement . . . , p. 17. 
4 ibid., p. 24. 

4 ? ibid., pp.30 II. 

48 Institutes, Book 4 (Chapter 17, Section 36). 

49 An Abridgement . . ., pp.3 Iff. 
so ibid., pp.42/3. 

si ibid., pp. 5 5/6. 
ibid., p.68. 



influence them. Roman practices and Roman superstitions were 
too recent to warrant risks being taken. The Mass and its " breaden 
God " might well be the picture suggested by the imposition of 
kneeling as the only right posture for receiving the consecrated elements. 

Thomas Morton, Bishop in turn of Chester, Lichfield, and Durham, 81 
like Laud and Buckeridge had been a member of St. John s College, 
Oxford, and like them was a vigorous though not a bigoted opponent 
of Puritanism. His A Defence of the Innocencie of the three Ceremonies, 
though long and detailed, does little more than reiterate and elaborate 
the type of argument already noted. On the basis of / Corinthians xiv 
(" Let all things be done decently and in order ") he argues, " By 
vertue of which permission, the Apostle doth grant a generall licence 
and authoritie to all churches, to ordaine any ceremonies that may bee 
fit for the better serving of God."* 4 " .... we are . . . authorized to 
call some ceremonies of our church, in a kind of generality, Divine, so 
farre as they have any dependance upon that generall direction of 
Scripture, which commandeth that things be done in order, decency 
and to edification .... "" He gives a very weak answer to the objection 
that some ceremonies are too suggestive of Idolatry. " What act is 
there of gesture, or any circumstance of worship, which hath not 
beene some way abused by Pagans, Heretikes, or some other super 
stitious worshippers ? ".* Though in theory his implication was no 
doubt true, he ignored the fact that, whereas some practices were of 
only historical significance, others were live issues during his own day. 
In reply to the argument that the Sacrament is a banquet, he answers 
that it is not a material but a spiritual feast, and thus, " You are not to 
require, or expect therein the very forme and fashion of an ordinarie 
Banquet ", 57 

Morton then raises the problem of what was to be done when there 
were too many present to sit at the Table. For answer to this, reference 
may be made to the works of Jeremiah Burroughes, one of the In 
dependents who attended the Westminster Assembly of Divines." 
After urging the need to follow carefully Christ s words and actions at 
the Table, Burroughes says, " those that do communicate must come 
to the Table as neer as they can; as many as can sit about it, and all 
to come as neer as they can, and the reason is, because that otherwise 
you will not be able to attain the end why God would have you come 
to receive .... "" (i.e. to see the actions as well as to hear the words). 

15641659, cf. D.N.B., s.v. 

** A Defence p.19. 

" ibid., p.26. 

s ibid., p.125. 

" ibid., pp.25 1/2. 

v cf. Gospel Worship, published in 1648 by Thomas Goodwin, William Greenhill and 

five other Independents. 

ibid., p.261. 



Morton is ready to admit that, " the gesture of kneeling is not 
prescribed, as a necessarie forme of receiving the communion ", but, 
he goes on, it is " necessarie for the reforming of the prophane, and 
irreligious behaviour of many in these wretched dayes wherein we 
live ". to 

It is unnecessary to do anything more than refer to the contribution 
of William Ames" to the controversy. His books* 2 consist in the 
main of an elaboration of the arguments of the Lincoln ministers : he 
goes over all the old ground and has nothing new to add. The same 
may be said of John Burgess, " Ames father-in-law, who, after having 
been a supporter of the Lincoln ministers in the early stages, became 
in later years an active opponent of the Nonconformist position. 4 

By this time the controversy was virtually over, at least so far as the 
pamphlet war was concerned. Two longer quotations from works 
of a later period will help to illustrate the direction in which the 
Puritans of the Jacobean age were tending in regard to the Lord s 
Supper, and at the same time will indicate the actual mode of observance 
common among their Separatist brethren. The first comes from John 
Cotton s The Way of the Churches of Christ in New England, published 
in 1645. l< The Lords Supper we administer for the time, once a 
month at least, and for the gesture, to the people sitting; according as 
Christ administred it to his Disciples (Mat. 26. 20,26) who also made 
a Symbolicall use of it, to teach the Church their majoritie over their 
Ministers in some cases, and their judiciall authoritie, as co-fessors 
with him at the last Judgement (Luk. 22. 27 to 30) which maketh 
us looke at kneeling at the Lords Supper, not only as an adoration 
devised by man but also as a violation by man of the institution of 
Christ, diminishing part of the Counsell of God, and of the honour 
and comfort of the Church held forth in it. 

" In time of solemnization of the Supper, the Minister having taken, 
blessed and broken the bread, and commanded all the people to take 
and eate it, as the body of Christ broken for them, he taketh it himselfe, 
and giveth it to all that sit at Table with him, and from the Table it is 
reached by the Deacons to the people sitting in the next seats about 
them, the minister sitting in his place at the Table "." 

Reference has been made above to Jeremiah Burroughes directions 
in regard to sitting at or near the Table. In the same work, Gospel 
Worship, this further passage occurs : " . . . . not only the eating the 

o A Defence . ., p.271. 

15761633 : cf. D.N.B., s.v. 

2 A reply to Dr. Morton s General Defence (1622). 

A reply to Dr. Morton s Particular Defence (1623). 

" 15631635 cf. D.N.B., s.v. 

64 e.g. An Answer rejoyned .... (1631). 

5 op. cit., p. 68. 



bread and drinking the wine is significative, but the gesture whereby 
we have fellowship with Jesus Christ here, to signifie the fellowship we 
shall have with him in the Kingdome of Heaven ; so that the people of 
God were deprived of a great deal of comfort, and of one special benefit 
of this holy Sacrament, whereas they might not receive it sitting; 
when Christ saith that you sitting with me here is a signification of 
you sitting with me when I come into the Kingdome of heaven ". 

When all the special pleading is dismissed, and when the New 
Testament is interpreted according to the Spirit, and not according to 
the mere letter, one argument seems to stand out with more permanent 
validity. Which gesture best befits the Lord s Supper when it is 
regarded as an act of Communion with the Risen Lord ? No doubt, 
as Richard Baxter asserts, " sitting or standing ... it is lawful in 
itself ". 7 But Bradshaw, Hieron, and the Lincoln and Devon Puritan 
ministers were defending a precious truth when they held that it was 
right to sit at the Lord s Supper, for to them that posture was sym 
bolical of the fact that the Sacrament was primarily a banquet at 
which Christ was the host. Not all their arguments would be regarded 
now as equally valid : neither those directed against the Anglican 
practice of kneeling to receive the Elements, nor those designed to 
defend their own practice of sitting to partake of the Sacrament. But 
at least they did have a clear and definite reason for using the latter 
posture, which they were able to justify on theological grounds. 
This is perhaps more than could be said of many of their Noncon 
formist successors. 



Practical Works, ed. W. Orme, iv.331. 

Ordination Sermons 

IN working through the older books in the library of New College, 
London, I have noticed a number of ordination sermons, 
occasionally bound together but more often bound with other 
pamphlets of a miscellaneous nature, and it occurred to me that a list 
of them might be useful for historical purposes. They provide names 
and dates which are a necessary part of any account of local churches 
and of the succession of ministers. It would also be instructive to 
read successively the charges, exhortations and confessions of faith 
and experience which they contain, and to observe the changes of 
emphasis in theology and piety as the decades pass. The works listed 
below are inevitably only the selection of the total material available 
which happens to have found its way into a single college library; 
but they include a number of pamphlets printed locally and therefore 
likely to be scarce, and they comprise a collection large enough to 
form the basis of a completer list. It is a question how most properly 
to arrange the items of information in a brief but intelligible form. 
In that adopted below the date of ordination is followed by the name 
of the minister(s) ordained and of the church over (or occasionally 
only at) which he was ordained ; the name(s) of the ministers) whose 
charge and/or exhortation is printed is then given, with the title 
(abbreviated) of the pamphlet where there is a title. The place of 
publication is added when other than London, and the year date of 
publication when other than that of ordination. It will be seen that a 
few items have not admitted of this treatment. It should be added 
that many, though not all, of the pamphlets contain also the confession 
of the minister ordained ; and that some of them provide additional 
names of ministers taking part in the ordination. Information in 
brackets is from other sources. 

(1697.) Anon. A Sermon Preach 1 1 at a Publick Ordination, in a Country 
Congregation on Acts jcm.2,3. Together With an Exhortation to 
the Minister and People, By another Brother. 1697. 

1703. Sept. 15. Daniel Wilcox. Confession only. The Sum of 
Christianity. 1706. 

(1704. July 11.) Benjamin Gravenor. vide sub 17 08. Apr. 15. 

1707. July 10. Thomas Bradbury. London. John Shower. A 
Confession of Faith, at the Publick Ordination. (2 copies). 



1708. Apr. 15. Samuel Wright. (London : Meeting House Court, 

Knightrider Street), also (1704. July 11.) Benjamin Gravenor. 

(London : Crosby Square). Daniel Williams. The Ministerial 

Office, (2 separate sermons.) 
1708. July 20. John Greene. Winburn (Wimborne), Dorset. 

Theophilus Lobb. 
(1709.) The Office of a Scriptural Bishop Described and Recommended. 

An Ordination Sermon. By J(oseph) B(oyse). Dublin 1709. 

(burned by order of Irish House of Lords, 1711). 
1712. Sept. 17. Samuel Clark. St. Albans. Jeremiah Smith, 

Matthew Henry. Preface shewing the Method & Solemnity of 

Presbyterian Ordinations, by Daniel Williams. 1713. (3 copies.) 
1712/13. Jan. 7. Benjamin Andrews Atkinson. London. Matthew 

Henry, Jeremiah Smith. 
(1715. Oct. 19.). (John Lavington, Joseph Hallett III). (Exeter: 

Bow Meeting). James Peirce. Presbyterian Ordination prov d 


2nd. edn., 1716. also in Peirce s Fifteen Sermons, ed. Benjamin 

Avery, 1728. 
1722. Aug. 21. f Micaijah Towgood. Moreton Hampstead, Devon. 

John Withers. 1723. 
1724. Oct. 21. Peter Jilleard. Crediton, Devon. John Withers. 

A Stated Ministry, and Presbyterian Ordination, Vindicated. 

John Enty. St. Paul s Love to Souls Considered & recommended. 

1726. Oct. 19. Thomas Hadfield. Peckham, Surrey. Joseph Hill, 

Thomas Reynolds. Ordination to the Ministry, an entrusting 

Men with the Gospel. 1727. (2 copies.) 
1730. June 24. Richard Rawlin. London : Fetter Lane. Daniel 

Neal. The Duty of Praying for Ministers. 
1730/31. Jan. 1. Abraham Taylor. Deptford, Kent. John Hurrion. 

Of the Work of Ministers. 
1730/3 l. Jan. 11. Obadiah Hughes, Clerk Oldisworth, Thomas 

Newman, John Smith, at London : Old-Jewry. S. Wright, 

Edmund Calamy. The Duty of holding fast the Form of Sound 

1733. July 18. W T illiam Henry Hallam, Jonathan Mercer. Long 

Melford, Suffolk. Thomas Steward, included in his Fifteen 

Sermons, 1 734. 
1733. Nov. 8. Farnham Haskoll. Taunton. Henry Grove. A Short 

& Easy Rule of Conduct, for Ministers of the Gospel. 1734. 

Not Aug. 22, as D.N.B., j.r. Towgood. 
2 Not 1721, as D..V.fl., J.r. Newman 


1734. Mar. 28. George Braithwaite. London : Meeting- House, 
near Devonshire Square. John Gill, Samuel Wilson. The 
Mutual Duty of Pastor & People. 

1734. Oct. 24. John Halford. South wark : Horselydown. John 
Guyse. The Minister s Plea for the People s Prayers. (2 copies.) 
also in Guyse s Collection of Seventeen Practical Sermons, 1756. 

1735. July 22. John Notcutt. Cambridge : Green Street. William 
Ford, Tobias Wildboar. 

1736. Oct. 6. William Johnson. Reygate (Reigate), Surrey. John 
Guyse, Abraham Taylor. Guyse s sermon, The Character of 
Gospel Ministers, also in his Collection of Seventeen Practical 
Sermons, 1756. 

1737. Oct. 27. James Howe, James Murray. London : Nightingale 
Lane. Thomas Hadfield. 

1739/40. Feb. 13. William King. London : Hare Court, Aldersgate 

Street. Peter Goodwin. 
1743. Oct. 27. Thomas Gibbons. London : Haberdasher s Hall. 

John Guyse. The Excellency of a Judicious Love. In Guyse s 

Collection of Seventeen Practical Sermons, 1756. 
1746. Aug. 5. Joseph Barber, vide sub 1748. Apr. 20. 
(1747). Moses Alway. B. Stevenson, D.D. The Validity and 

Regularity of the Ministry exercised amongst the English Protestant 

Dissenters, briefly prov d. 1747. 
1747/8. Mar. 24. Thomas Towle. London : Rope-Maker s Alley. 

Zephaniah Marryat, Thomas Hall, John Guyse. cf. next entry. 
1748. Apr. 20. Moses Gregson. Rowel (Rothwell), Northants. also 

1747/8. Mar. 24. Thomas Towle. London : Rope-maker s 

Alley. (MS. addition : also 1746. Aug. 5. Joseph Barber. 

Basingstoke.) John Guyse. also in Guyse s Collection of 

Seventeen Practical Sermons, 1756. 
1748. Oct. 26. John Angus. Bishop s Stortford. John Guyse, 

Thomas Gibbons, Samuel Price. Guyse s sermon also in his 

Collection of Seventeen Practical Sermons, 1756. 
1750. June 6. Thomas Williams. Gosport. John Gumming, Samuel 

Hayward, Nicholas Pearson. 

1750. July 26. John (Collett) Ryland. Warwick. John Haydon, John 

1751. Oct. 16. James Rooker. Bridport. John Lavington junior, 
Richard Pearsall. 

1755. Oct. 15. (? Benjamin) Hewson, Thomas Hirons, (Nathaniel) 
White. Hinckley, Leics. Hugh Wbrthington (senior). The 
Duty of Ministers & People. 

1 Not Feb. 14, as D.N.B., s.v., King. 

5 * 


1755. Nov. 11. (Isaac) Smithson. Harleston, Norfolk. (Ralph) 
Milner, (John) Taylor, (Thomas) Stanton. 

1756. July 7. William Porter. London : Miles s Lane. John Conder, 
Timothy Jollie (junior), Thomas Hall. 

1758. May 11. John Stafford. London : New Broad Street. Thomas 
Gibbons, Thomas Hall. 

1759. June 14. Richard Winter. London : New-Court, near 
Lincoln s-Inn-Fields. John Olding, Thomas Hall, Thomas 
Bradbury, John Conder. 

1766. Oct. 2. John Reynolds. London : Cripplegate. Benjamin 
Wallin. The Constitution of a Gospel-Church. 

1769. Aug. 17. George Waters, William Youat. Bridport, Dorset. 
Andrew Kippis, Philip Furneaux. The Character of Jesus Christ 
as a Public Speaker Considered. 

1770. Oct. 24. John Fell. Thaxted, Essex. John Angus, Thomas 
Davidson, Thomas Towle. 

1773. Oct. 7. Job David. Frome, Som. Daniel Turner, Caleb Evans. 

Bristol, s.a. (2 copies.) 
1775. Sept. 13. (Rochemont) Barbauld, (John Matthews) Beynon, 

(Robert) Alderson, (James) Pilkington. Palgrave, Suffolk. 

John Whiteside, Edward Pickard. The Duty of Hearers. (On 

the peculiarity of this occasion, cf. Browne, Hist, of Congreg. . . . 

in Norfolk & Suffolk, p.479n.). 
1777. Apr. 9. John Heslup. Sunderland : Ropery Lane. John Knipe, 

James Brownfield. Newcastle. 

1777. Apr. 22. Sir Harry Trelawny, Bt. at Southampton for West Looe, 
Cornwall. Edward Ashburner, William Kingsbury, John Crisp. 

1778. June 24. Isaac Smith. Sidmouth, Devon. Joshua Toulmin. 
The Watchfulness incumbent on Ministers. Taunton, 2nd. edn., 

1778. Aug. 5. John Prior Estlin. Bristol : Lewin s Mead. William 

Enfield, Thomas Wright, Nathaniel White. The Principles & 

Duty of Protestant Dissenters considered. 
(1783. May 21.) James Lindsay. London: Monkwell Street. Henry 

Hunter, James Fordyce, 1783. 
1785. July 28. Timothy Kenrick. Exeter : New Meeting, also 1785. 

Aug. 24. William Browne. Wrexham. Thomas Jervis, 

Thomas Belsham. 

1785. Aug. 24. William Browne, vide sub 1785. July 28. 

1786. Oct. 18. George Birley. St. Ives. Daniel Taylor, Robert 
Robertson. The Service of God, in the Gospel of his Son. 

1790. July 12. William Field. Warwick. Joseph Priestley, Thomas 
Belsham. A View of Revealed Religion. 


1791. June 29. James Knight, the church of which the late John 
Rogers was pastor. John Clayton (senior), Benjamin Davies, 
Thomas Towle. 

1796. Dec. 7. W. Belsher. Worcester : at Angel Street, for Silver 

Street. John Ryland, S(amuel) Pearce, G. Osborn. The Duty 
of Ministers to be nursing Fathers. (1797). 

1797. Apr. 18. Samuel Wydown. York: Jubber-gate. Joseph 
Cockin, Edward Parsons, Samuel Bottomley. Leeds, s.a. 

1797. Aug. 23. William Chaplin. Bishop s Stortford. John Jennings, 
Nathaniel Jennings, Samuel Palmer. 

1799. Apr. 17. Frederick Hamilton. Brighton. John Humphrys, 
Robert Winter, James Steven. 

1800. Apr. 10. T. Williams, vide sub 1801. Apr. 8. 

1800. Sept. 17. Samuel Bradley. Doncaster. M. Phillips, E(dward) 

Williams, E(dward) Parsons. 

1801. Apr. 8. William Harris. Kingston upon Thames, also 1800. 
Apr. 10. T. Williams. Shaftesbury. J(ames) Bowden. The 
Christian a Chosen Vessel. 

1801. May 28. Charles Dewhirst. Bury, Suffolk: Whiting Street. 
Robert Stevenson, Joseph Cockin, John Mead Ray. St. Ives. 

1801. Nov. 17. Thomas Coles. Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos. John 

Ryland, James Hinton. The Difficulties & Supports of a 
Gospel Minister. 

1802. June 23. Thomas Morgan. Birmingham : Cannon-street. 
John Ryland, A(ndrew) Fuller, J. Sutcliff. 

1802. Sept. 29. John Rogers. Eynsford, Kent. Joseph Jenkins, 

James Upton, John Stanger. 
1802. Oct. 12. Thomas Craig. Bocking, Essex. Samuel Newton, 

Robert Stevenson, William Parry, John Pye Smith. (2 copies.) 
1804. Oct. 24. Johnjerard. Coventry. James Moody, George Burder, 

Thomas Stollery. Coventry. 
1808. May 25. John Bruce. Newport, I.o.W.: St. James Street. 

John Pye Smith, Samuel Bruce, James Bennett, Robert Winter. 

(2 copies.) 

1808. Oct. 5. Robert Stodhart. London : Mulberry-Garden Chapel, 

Pell Street, Ratcliffe Highway. Thomas Young. 

1809. June 22. Thomas Raffles. Hammersmith. John Humphrys, 
W(illiam) B(engo) Collyer, Robert Winter. 

1811. Nov. 27. Andrew Reed. London: New Road, St. George s in 
the East. Robert Winter, George Collison, John Clayton 
(senior), 1812. also 2nd. edn., 1821. 

1813. Oct. 6. James Tait. Maldon, Essex. S(tephen) Morell, 
(John Pye) Smith, S(amuel) Newton. 


1814. March 2. H(enry) F(orster) Burder. London : Hackney, St. 

Thomas s Square. (John Pye) Smith, George Burder, (Robert) 

(1814.) John Whitridge. Carlisle : Annetwell Street. Joseph Gilbert, 
John Whitridge (uncle of the minister ordained), Thomas 
Gritten. 1814. 

(1815). Richard Winter Hamilton. Leeds: Albion Chapel. Joseph 
Fletcher, Robert Winter, James Boden. Leeds, 1815. 

1815. Feb. 17. John Morison. London : New Road, Sloane Street, 

Chelsea. H. F. Burder, John Hooper, John Clayton junior. 
1815. Nov. John Yockney. London : Lower Street, Islington. 

William Walford, W. B. Collyer, Robert Winter. 1816. 
(1816.) Thomas James. London : City Chapel. J. A. James. 

Ministerial Duties Stated & Expressed. 1816. 
1821. Nov. 7. J. S. Brooksbank. Edmonton & Tottenham. (Robert) 

Winter, Joseph Brooksbank senior, (W. B.) Collyer. 1822. 

(2 copies.) 

1832. Sept. 27. N(un) M(organ) Harry. London : New Broad Street 

Meeting-House. H. F. Burder, J. Pye Smith, Joseph Berry. 

1833. May 1. J(ohn) Stoughton. Windsor: William Street Chapel. 

Robert Halley, John Boutet Innes, George Redford. 
1841. March 2. Andrew Reed. Norwich: Old Meeting-House. 

John Alexander, Andrew Reed (father of the minister ordained), 

J. H. Godwin. 
1849. Nov. 22. J. H. Hutton. Gloucester: Barton Street. Dr. 

Hutton, J. H. Thorn. 



THE 55th Annual Meeting of the Society was held at Westminster 
Chapel on 12 May, 1954, at 5.30 p.m. There were present 
some 65 members and non-members. The resignation of the 
General Secretary, the Rev. H. Sellers, on his leaving Ilford for 
Redditch, was accepted with regret; members were glad to hear that 
the Rev. E. W. Dawe was willing to serve in this capacity, and elected 
him to the office. The meeting also accepted with regret the resignation 
of Dr. R. S. Paul, Associate Editor of these Transactions, and expressed 
its best wishes for his future work as he goes to represent Congre 
gationalism in a wider sphere at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey. 
The other officers were re-elected, with thanks for their continued 
services, together with those of Mr. Sellers and Dr. Paul. 

Congregationalists in this country, and especially those interested in 
our history, have welcomed the return from Grahamstown to this 
country of Dr. Horton Davies, now Senior Lecturer in Church History 
at Mansfield and Regent s Park Colleges, Oxford. Those who know 
his book, The Worship of the English Puritans, will be interested to 
learn that Dr. Davies is at work on a continuation of this subject. 
A foretaste of it was enjoyed by the members of our Society in the 
paper on " Liturgical Reform in Nineteenth- Century English Congre 
gationalism", which Dr. Davies read at our Annual Meeting, and which 
is printed within. It was delivered with much charm, vigour and sly 
humour. It is a thousand pities that the pressure of other, and 
supposedly more important, meetings always prevents us from following 
the lecture with a period of questions and discussion. On this occasion, 
for instance, it would have been useful to know how far Dr. Davies 
considers that John Hunter s Liturgy was actually used in the last two 
decades of the nineteenth century ; and the intriguing question might 
have been raised, how the same aesthetic sensitiveness and delicacy 
could be expressed in that Liturgy, for which Dr. Davies had the 
warmest appreciation, and in the architecture of the King s Weigh- 
House, which Dr. Davies does not approve, though presumably 
Hunter did ! 

* # * 

The Society has been well represented during the year by the number 
of books and pamphlets which have appeared over the names of its 
members, as may be seen from a list of works which is to be found on a 
later page. Special notice may be taken here of a work which is 
omitted from that list through the modesty of its compiler. This is 
The Register -Booke of the Fourth Classis in the Province of London 
1646-59, transcribed from the original MS. in possession of the 



Trustees of Dr. Williams Library, London, with Introduction and 
Expository Index, by Charles E. Surman, M.A., Research Secretary of 
The Congregational Historical Society (Harleian Society s Publica 
tions, Ixxxii-lxxxiii, 1953). It is, we think, remarkable, and an 
indication of the continuing breadth of sympathies which is our 
Congregational tradition, that, while one of our members has attempted 
to present the Society of Friends with a fresh assessment of James 
Nayler, another has transcribed a document of special interest to 
the Presbyterian Church of England and to those Unitarians who regard 
the seventeenth-century Presbyterians as their spiritual ancestors. 
However that may be, members of our Society will wish to congratulate 
Mr. Surman, who has recently become a Fellow of the Royal Historical 
Society, on adding another document to the printed sources of Puritan 
history. They will rejoice at its appearance in the publications of the 
Harleian Society, and will take special pride that the name of our 
Society appears upon its titlepage. They may be glad to be reminded 
that in the pages of our issues for April 1948 and April 1949 they already 
possess material by Mr. Surman on "Presbyterianism under the 
Commonwealth" which it is illuminating to compare with The 

It is not an easy book to review; but it is a very easy book to use, 
because of the splendid Indexes (rather than Index, as the titlepage) 
for which Mr. Surman is noted. These include not only an Index 
Nominum running to 28 pages, with full biographical notes and 
references, of a kind which would have delighted Alexander Gordon 
and will make the work an indispensable source for many students who 
will never read through the text, but a most useful Index Locorum, 
arranged under counties, and a slight General Index as well. The 
Introduction is brief but clear. The text, which is reproduced 
verbatim et literatim, as befits a publication by a learned society, is 
largely concerned with ordinations and the examinations of candidates 
for ordinations. The subjects of the theses which candidates were 
given to debate are a helpful guide to the issues in theology which were 
considered of importance at the time; even if their determination 
must often have been in no doubt, as when they were asked An Christus 
sit dens? An sola fides justificet? or An papa sit ille Antichristus ? 
Of special interest to Congregationalists is the message from " Mr. 
BROOKES preacher at Thomas- Apostles ", who " refuseth to come " 
to " Margarets-Newfishstreet ", which " hath bin destitute of a 
minister, six moneths ", " but upon these termes . . ."; the first is 
" That you wch bee Elders shall wholly lay downe your offices as 
Elders "; the third, " That you receive all strangers into you, though 
something differing in opinion, so as you find them fitt ". 


The last passage in The Register -Booke is the copy of a document 
dated 17 November 1659, securely certifying the ordination twelve 
years earlier of James Greenwood, the Curate of Old Hutton, 
Westmorland. Alas for the brevity of all things human ! especially 
in days of revolution. The Classis certificate was of no avail to protect 
Greenwood against ejection from Old Hutton in 1662. In eight 
years time from now it will be the three hundredth anniversary of 
that Black Bartholomew Day. What forms will be taken by the 
remembrance (rather than the celebration) of that notable date and of 
the beginnings of organized Nonconformity ? It is not too soon to 
begin thinking about it. In some quarters to-day a scornful amusement 
is expressed at the grandiose claims for the dissidence of dissent made 
in the middle of the last century; true, we are not likely to want to 
build another pseudo-Gothic Memorial Hall; but there was some 
solid historical work published in 1862 and after, especially by 
Stoughton (the Nonconformist Milman), which we shall have our work 
cut out to match. A frank consideration of the spiritual principles of 
Nonconformity as they appeared to those who first suffered for them, 
and also to those who could not see their cogency, would (among 
other things) help to save certain aspects of the ecumenical discussion 
from illiteracy and unreality. 

Simply to go over familiar ground again would refresh nobody; but 
there is no need to do so. Recent bibliographical work both in this 
country and in America has revealed a large number of tracts and 
ephemeral works, often scarce, which have never received attention 
except in their own times, and has enabled the complicated course of 
contemporary controversies to be followed with a fullness and under 
standing not possible before. With this in mind, the Society s Com 
mittee has agreed that a meeting shall be called, to which a representa 
tive shall be invited from the Baptist, Friends , Presbyterian and 
Unitarian Historical Societies as well as our own, and which shall 
explore the possibility and desirability of a bibliography of Non 
conformity, say from 1660 to 1689. It is a project which should appeal 
equally to members of all the older Free Churches with historical 
interests, and on the basis of which a new history might be attempted, 
of an impartial and comprehensive nature. The other Societies have 
agreed to be represented at such an exploratory meeting; and there for 
the moment the matter rests. 

If it is to be in line with recent work, any such bibliography should 
indicate the location of the books listed, at least in the major collections 
of Nonconformist history in London. These would include not only 
(most obviously) Dr. Williams Library, with the Congregational 
Library, and possibly Sion College, but also the library of New College, 


which is particularly strong in this field, and that at Richmond College, 
which includes many rare works relating to Arminianism collected by 
Thomas Jackson, the Methodist biographer of John Goodwin. It is 
a disgrace to Congregational scholarship that the Congregational 
Library, the rehabilitation of which was welcomed in these pages a 
year ago, continues closed, and that the Memorial Hall Trustees hold 
out no hope whatever of opening it in the near future. A bibliography 
of Nonconformity in which no use had been made of the vast library 
of books collected by Joshua Wilson, and presented by his widow for the 
use of the Congregational churches, would be a curiosity indeed; 
and it must be hoped that the trustees of his books will find themselves 
soon able to give any such enterprise as may be ventured the benefit 
of access to the Congregational Library, as well as their personal 
sympathy and support. 

It may be of interest to some of our members, particularly to those 
engaged in research, to have their attention drawn to the facilities 
provided by the Standing Conference of Theological and Philosophical 
Libraries in London (SCOTAPL), through which short-term research 
tickets (3s. 6d.) may be obtained to some 22 libraries in London, 
including those of the C.M.S., L.M.S. and S.P.G., the Jews College, 
Westminster Abbey, and the Presbyterian Historical Society, as well 
as the Evangelical Library and five municipal libraries. The Con 
ference, of which the Hon. Sec. is Miss Joan Ferrier, of the C.M.S., 
6 Salisbury Square, E.C.4, also issues a directory (2s. 6d.) of its member 
libraries, with details of their holdings and service. 

Will members please accept receipt of this number of 
Transactions as a reminder that current subscriptions (and 
any arrears) should be paid without delay y as heavy expenses 
of publication have immediately to be met. The Treasurer s 
address is given on Cover 4. 

Liturgical Reform in Nineteenth - 
Century English Congregationalism 

WE are accustomed to regard the nineteenth as the " stolid " 
English century, in which the monarchy, the empire, the archi 
tecture and the furniture are solid, safe, dependable and 
unexciting. " Respectable " is the epithet we unhesitatingly apply to 
it and to the men who march resolutely across its stage, their sober faces 
made squarer by side- whiskers, and the prolific women woo recline, as 
far as the horse-hair bristles and their bustles permit, on the sofas of 
the century. It was a stiff, rigid-backed, whale-boned, chins-up, 
aspidistra age. Such at least it seems from the vertiginous viewpoint 
of the present " aspirin age ". 

In fact, however, it was an age of revolution in politics, science, art, 
and theology. In Memoriam, Das Kapital and The Origin of Species 
are all Victorian explosions in the world of thought. Even the quiet 
country parishes of the Established Church reverberated to the passion 
ate pleas of the Evangelicals as they hammered at the sides of their 
pulpits, when they were not being summoned by the Tractarians as 
the Anglican Church militant. In the realm of Biblical theology there 
were major earthquakes, as first the literal inerrancy of the Scriptures 
was assailed by Higher Criticism and afterwards the cast-iron theology 
of the Divine decrees was fragmentated by the new liberalism and 
Christian socialism. " Change and decay in all around I see ", seems 
to us a twentieth-century theme, but these are Victorian words to 
describe a Victorian experience. At the outset we may do well to 
remember that religion and worship were disturbing controversial sub 
jects in the nineteenth century. So much so, indeed, that in the year 
1856 it was decided to postpone the meeting of the Assembly of the 
Congregational Union of England and Wales, so deep were the passions 
aroused by the attackers and defenders of an inoffensive hymn-book 
issued by Thomas Toke Lynch in 1855, under the title, The Rivulet, 
Hymns for Heart and Voice* Our concern, then, is with the revolution 
or reformation that took place in the public worship of nineteenth- 
century English Congregationalism. For the purpose of this paper we 
shall limit our interest to prayers, praises and architecture, respectively. 


The revolution in worship can be most clearly seen in the attitude 
towards Prayers. At the commencement of the century they were 
regarded at the best as an irksome necessity, at the worst as a preliminary 
that could be dispensed with. In 1770 Benjamin Wallin deplores the 



fact that for many worshippers the " first and chief prayer, with the 
previous psalmody, is like what is vulgarly called the saints bell, which 
rings the people into church ". 2 A similar indictment is made thirty- 
two years later by the anonymous authors of the remarkable document 
that heralds the dawn of a new Nonconformist worship : "And in most 
of our congregations, it is customary for great numbers to absent them 
selves till after the worship is begun, and not a few till the chief prayers 
are nearly ended. Many seem to think that if they are in time to hear 
the text, they are early enough ". 3 

On the other hand, even when the congregation arrived in good time, 
this was no guarantee that its demeanour would be reverent. A minister, 
in his farewell sermon to his congregation, spoke out his mind on 
diffuse prayers and distracted congregations : "... it is mostly found, 
that if a person stands very long in prayer, he either gets to preaching, 
or he uses a great deal of repetition, and travels his ground several times 
over. This leads to discontent and inattention in the hearers. To add 
to the trial of the mind so circumstanced, I have remarked where I 
have been, some turning an hymn-book about ; others handing the 
snuff-box about ; and another taking up the poker and falling to knock 
ing the fire about ".* 

Extemporary prayers were to suffer from abuses even graver than 
prolixity or propaganda. We read of a certain Samuel Brewer of 
Stepney Congregational Meeting who frequented the quaysides of the 
parish with a rolling gait. So intimate and comprehensive was his 
knowledge of the coming and going of ships in the nearby docks that 
he turned his intercessory prayer into a Lloyd s shipping register. 
Bogue and Bennett relate the story with zest in their history : 

When a merchant ship was going to sail, he specified the captain, 
the mate, the carpenter, the boatswain, and all the sailors with 
great affection ; and, it is said, that impressed with a belief of the 
benefit of his prayers, they frequently brought him home, as a 
token of gratitude, something of the produce of the country to 
which they went. 5 

We may visualise the vestry at Stepney, looking like a harvest festival of 
the British empire, piled high with pomegranates as proofs of his 
prevailing prayers, and the Sabbath silence broken by the chattering of 
budgerigars and the squawking of green parrots. 

Lest all eccentricities in free prayer be attributed to a quirk of 
Congregationalism, I beg leave to cite an example of how not to pray 
ex tempore which an Anglican reporter or parodist attributes to an 
Anabaptist layman. This prayer (or parody) goes thus : 

O Lord, a Brother of ours, and Servant of Thine, being sick and 
weak, desires the Prayers of us thy Faithful Servants ; Lord, if 
thou knowest him not his Name is John Mason ; and Father, if 


thee knowest not where he lives, behold, O Lord, he lives right 
over-against the cockey in Pockthorpe ; and behold, Lord, he is a 
Lame Man, and walks with one Crutch, and he is a Cobbler by 
his Trade ; and, Father, his Wife is a very Tidy Woman, for she 
is a Bobbin- Filler, she brings her Boy up to fill Pipes, and her Girl 
to knit : And now, O Lord, lest thou shouldst mistake, behold 
there is a great Stone lying at his Door. We pray thee, Father, 
that thou wouldst be pleased to call upon him and visit him in 
thy Mercy &c. 6 

Now it would be an utter traversty of the great heights to which 
extemporary prayer can reach, if I indicated that such bathos was 
general among the Congregational churches of the century. To correct 
any such impression, I wish to cite part of a Communion Meditation 
penned by B. H. Draper, an Independent minister in Isaac Watts 
town of Southampton : 

See they crown that sacred head with thorns, which is now 
encircled with the rainbow and crowned with glory and honour ; 
they place a reed in that hand in mockery of his claims of sove 
reignty, which now really holds the sceptre of universal dominion ; 
that blessed countenance is defiled with shame and spitting, which 
is clearer than the light of heaven, and brighter than the meridian 
sun. 7 

Nonetheless, if extemporaneous prayers were occasionally Pentecostal, 
they were more frequently Purgatorial. 

It was precisely this state of affairs that the most devout and thought 
ful minds in the ministry set out to improve. Pre-eminent among 
Congregational ministers of this century in the field of worship were 
two friends : Thomas Binney and John Hunter. Binney was the 
pioneer and Hunter the accomplished practitioner of an improved public 
worship of God. These remarkable men had a great deal in common : 
each was minister of King s Weigh-House Chapel in London ; each 
was a pioneer in the use of prose psalms and chants in Dissenting praise; 
each was in the forefront of the movement to liberate and liberalize 
theology from the conception of God as the arbitrary Calvinistic 
Potentate of the Divine decrees, and from the thought of the future life 
as substance and the present as mere shadow. The liturgical conclusion 
they came to was one in which Thomas Cartwright, the Elizabethan 
Puritan, had anticipated them by almost four hundred years." They 
were forestalled even in their own century in A New Directory for 
Nonconformist Churches which pled for the use of fixed forms and free 
prayer. The distinction of Binney and Hunter, however, was the place 
they occupied in the affection and respect of the denomination as 
eminent preachers and pastors, and in the moving exemplification of 
their theories in their own charges. Moreover, by their preaching and 


by their books, as well as in fraternal discussion, they promoted the 
reform of worship. It was the greater distinction of Dr. John Hunter 
that he produced the first Congregational Liturgy worthy of the name, 
in 1882. It was entitled Devotional Services for Public Worship. The 
first edition comprised 28 pages, while the edition of 1901, which 
represents the final form, consisted of 328 pages. The only previous 
Congregational liturgy known to me is that of one Thomas, minister 
of the Independent Chapel in Stockwell, which appeared in the middle 
decade of the century and was known as The Biblical Liturgy. This is 
a pauperly liturgy compared with the princely fare of Hunter s. 

Now the revolutionary nature of these proposals must be insisted 
upon. Hitherto, worship was either liturgical or free, but never were 
the traditions combined in the same service. The anonymous authors 
of the New Directory of 1812 recommend the use of both types of prayer 
and say that, if someone should object that reading a precomposed 
prayer is like writing a letter to another and then going to read it to 
him, they must insist " it is rather like drawing up with care a humble 
petition to the King, and then going in a body to present it to Him ". 
They further recommend that prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, con 
fession, and general intercession and supplication be offered through 
precomposed forms, 10 and that responsive orders of prayers should be 
printed for the use of the congregations. 11 They suggest as source- 
materials Matthew Henry s Method of Prayer, Watts Guide to Prayer, 
and William Smith s A System of Prayer. These and many other 
practical suggestions are offered for the consideration of the ministry 
in general and for tutors in theological academies in particular, because 
their authors are so grieved by the improprieties of Dissenting worship. 

The admirable Thomas Binney made his views known either in his 

celebrated sermon, The Service of Song in the House of the Lord, or 

in his influential edition of C. W. Baird s A Chapter on Liturgies, 

Historical Sketches (1856) to which he prefixed an introductory essay 

and added a brilliant appendix that reads like a seminar. Binney hopes 

that it will be a surprise to many of the ultra-free-prayer school to find 

that the incontestably Protestant John Knox prepared a fixed liturgy 

which was adopted by the Church of Scotland, that many of the Puritans 

and Separatists used a Genevan liturgy in their clandestine meetings, 

that later Nonconformists objected not to the idea of a liturgy but to 

the particular liturgy which the Established Church imposed and that 

one of them, Richard Baxter, had prepared his own Reformed Liturgy 

for general use. He declares that congregations show a yearning for 

deeper devotion and richer song- something too in which the 

people shall take a prominent and active part, not in psalmody 

only but in supplication ; in which they shall be called vocally 

to utter some portion of the Church s common prayer, so that 


by audible repetition and appropriate response, and other modes 
of united action, they shall feel that they positively do pray, as 
well as listen to another praying. 12 

Binney was a visionary, but no fanatic. So he contented himself by 
prescribing a reasonable modicum of improvement. This would take 
the form of a responsive reading of the Psalms ; vocal confession of 
sin, or the Lord s Prayer, or the Apostles Creed ; and the limitation 
of the use of the pulpit to the sermon. To understand how reverent 
the man s soul was we have only to cite one verse of his great hymn 
" Eternal Light " : 

O how shall I, whose native sphere 

Is dark, whose mind is dim, 
Before the ineffable appear, 
And on my naked spirit bear 

The uncreated beam ? 

In the same way a sublime short hymn can take us to the beating 
heart of John Hunter s devotional concern. Dr. Erik Routley describes 
it as " a perfect example of the Christian lyric-epigram "." It reads : 
Dear Master, in whose life I see 
All that I would, but fail to be, 
Let Thy clear light for ever shine 
To shame and guide this life of mine. 

Though what I dream and what I do 
In my weak days are always two, 
Help me oppressed by things undone, 
O Thou, whose deeds and dreams were one. 14 

Hunter s theory and practice of worship are concentrated in three 
publications : Devotional Services for Public Worship (first edition, 
1882), Hymns of Faith and Hope (first edition, 1889), and the treatise, 
A Worshipful Church (1903). In the 1901 edition of the first of these he 
writes : " The two ways of worship (liturgical and free) have each 
proved their right to exist, and they may exist side by side". To this 
he added in A Worshipful Church the sentence : 

Opportunity ought to be given in every service for the introduc 
tion of free prayer when the minister is moved thereto ; but it is 
good that the larger part of the prayers should be before the eyes 
and in the hands of the people, that they may be able directly 
to participate in the worship, and that their worship may be 
saved from the unregulated and unchastened individualism of one 
man. 15 

In my own deliberate judgment I would state that the book which 
has done more for Free Church worship than any other, The Methodist 
Hymn-Book excepted, is Dr. John Hunter s Devotional Services. What 


is it that makes this book so outstanding ? It is not merely that it is 
the first dignified Congregational liturgy in English, nor even that its 
language is as aspiring as it is chaste, nor even again that the people are 
given their responsive rights in worship, important as all these factors 
are. The secret of its success does not even lie in the princely ruthless- 
ness with which Hunter raids the devotional treasures of the past. It 
lies in the unusual combination of the traditionalist and the modern in 
Hunter. Technically he is a traditionalist, using the techniques of the 
collect and the litany, steeped in the thoughts and the phraseology of 
Catholic liturgy and devotions. Equally he is an advanced social thinker 
of his own day and sets his prayers firmly in the context of the nine 
teenth century industrial society, remembering the needs of a variety of 
vocations. The social reformer could pen these incisive words : 

From all inordinate cares and ambitions ; from maxims of 
cunning and greed ; from the godless pursuit of pleasure and 
gain ; from wronging the poor and from envying and flattering the 
rich ; from keeping back the price of labour and from rendering 
eye-service ; Good Lord, deliver us. 
Yet the same author pens these mystical words : 

Almighty and everlasting God, in communion with Thy saints 
in all ages, with patriarchs and prophets, apostles and martyrs, 
with our beloved dead who have fallen asleep in Thy peace ; we, 
who are still striving to do and bear Thy blessed will on earth, 
adore Thee and offer to Thee our praises and supplications. 16 
Hunter had the liturgist s gift for true architectonic, rhythmical and 
balanced phrasing, as in the opening of this prayer recalling the Com 
munion of Saints : " O Lord God, the Life and Light of the Faithful, 
the Strength and Hope of those who labour and suffer, the Everlasting 
Refuge and Rest of the dead . . ." Moreover, he had the liturgist s 
gift of the monumental, unforgettable phrase. Some of these phrases 
of his have become the prayer currency of the Free Churches : . 
" the sacred and tender ties that bind us to the unseen world " ; 
" for the tasks and trials by which we are trained to patience " ; 
" for the order and constancy of nature, for the beauty and bounty 
of the world " ; " the secret and blessed fellowship of the Cross " ; 
* the sweet and solemn hopes that cluster round the newborn " ; 
" forgotten by us, but dear to Thee " ; and, perhaps the pro- 
foundest of them all, " the strength to do and bear the blessed will 
of God ". As long as the English tongue is spoken, so long will his 
Communion invitation endure. It is so good that it might be inserted as it 
stands before the Prayer of Humble Access in the Communion Order of 
the Book of Common Prayer. "Come to this sacred Table, not because 
you must, but because you may ..." it begins, and ends, " Come, not 
to express an opinion, but to seek a Presence and pray for a Spirit." 


Dr. John Hunter s enrichment of the prayers and praises of the Free 
Churches deserves a lecture to itself. What has been said, however, 
would serve to substantiate the claim made by Dr. Leslie Hunter, the 
Bishop of Sheffield, on behalf of his father : " It has proved one of the 
most influential contributions ... to pastoral theology in the non- 
episcopal churches. Ministers who would dislike to read or to be seen 
to read prayers from a book in their pulpits, have sought inspiration 
and suggestion from its pages. Many men, too, who have made little 
use of it in the ordinary services of the Church, have made regular use 
of its special orders of services . . . and the occasional prayers which 
it contains "." How far we have travelled from the unpremeditated, 
repetitive, chaotic, free prayers at the commencement of the century to 
the profoundly reflective and relevant, dignified, orderly and devout 
prayers of Hunter. 


Significant changes were also taking place in the Praise of the Congre 
gational churches. At the commencement of the century the theology 
of the hymns was almost exclusively Calvinistic, with Watts reigning as 
unrivalled king of hymnodists. In the course of the century the range 
of Congregational hymns was extended, if not deepened, by several 
important influences. Methodism contributed the magnificent enrich 
ment of Charles and John Wesley ; Anglicanism contributed the 
original hymns of Reginald Heber and the splendid translations of 
John Mason Neale. American Congregationalism provided the trans 
lator, Ray Palmer, and the leavening (or, watering- down) of liberal 
hymns of the kingdom such as " Rise up, O men of God ". English 
Congregationalism had its own contribution to make in the hymns of 
Binney, Conder, Gill, Hood, Matson, Rawson, Andrew Reed, Arnold 
Thomas, Silvester Home and Elvet Lewis, all nineteenth century 
hymnodists. The outstanding characteristics of nineteenth-century 
hymnbooks in Congregationalism are interdenominationalism and con 
temporaneity. The latter only became possible because of an even 
greater change, which A. G. Matthews rightly defines as " the divorce 
of the union that wedded the hymnbook to the Bible ". 1t Now it 
became possible to sing the glories of the present challenge, of the joys 
of social service, and to provide hymns suitable to the development and 
experience of children. An expansion of themes was accompanied by a 
thinning of the theology, and the objectivity of the mighty acts of God 
in creation, redemption and sanctification was sacrificed for the subject 
ivity and introspection of lyrical spiders forever examining their insides. 

We should also recall that the nineteenth century saw the gradual 
disappearance of the clerk and the precentor and the advent of the 


organist and the choirmaster. The violins, violoncellos, and flutes 
ceded their rights to the harmonium and then to the pipe-organ. In 
some conservative congregations the innovators had a hard struggle. 
Dating is difficult but we know, for example, that in Rugeley, Stafford 
shire, there were three stages : in 1840 there was a choir accompanied 
by a violoncello ; in 1850 they boasted a harmonium ; and in 1859 
they raised the roof in the inauguration of their pipe-organ. 1 In 
Handsworth, Birmingham, however, they had an organ as early as 
1832. Manchester, as we might expect, boasted an organ in Mosley 
Chapel as early as 1823, and, equally according to prediction, an 
obdurate deacon resigned at the * intrusion . The diehards found a 
spokesman in John Adamson, minister of Charlesworth. Among his 
quaint arguments against organs are : to urge Judaism as a precedent for 
organs would require us also to introduce dancing in worship to be 
consistent ; instrumental music was excluded from worship during 
the first seven hundred years of the history of the Christian Church ; 
together with the conclusive, irrefutable argument that it " is a custom 
derived from the idolatrous Church of Rome ". 20 We may note, in 
passing, that a superstition against superstition has prevented or slowed 
up liturgical progress throughout Church history. 

It appears that it was Thomas Binney who introduced chanting into 
Congregational worship, while Henry Allon popularized it in his chant- 
book of 1876. Even a year before this publication, however, Dr. Allon 
wrote : "At the present time the prose psalms are more generally sung 
and Gregorian music is more extensively used in Nonconformist 
churches than in Evangelical Episcopalian churches ". 21 The denomi 
national approval of chants was given by implication in the officially 
sponsored Congregational Church Hymnal of 1887, edited by Barrett. 
Anthems were also introduced at about the same time as chants. Both 
innovations were undreamed of at the beginning of the century. 


The third great area of change was in the setting, the Architecture 
of Congregational worship. Before the double onset of the Gothic 
revival of architecture and the Oxford revival of ecclesiology, the 
traditional preference of Churches in the Puritan tradition for simple, 
classical, Georgian structures, with porticoed fronts, was broken down. 
The two characteristic features of the older meeting-houses of the Non 
conformist tradition were the central pulpit, with the place of honour 
given to the open Bible resting on the red plush pulpit-cushion, and 
the full light passing undimmed through the large, D-topped windows, 
stressing the pedagogic character of Puritan worship, where the congre 
gation was essentially an " audience " gathered to hear the exposition 
of the will of God in the obedience of faith. The Gothic, mediaeval, 


cruciform shape, on the other hand, presupposed a sanctuary in which 
the sacrifice of the Mass, said often in an unintelligible tongue, was 
not to be heard, but to be " seen " ; and this properly required a high 
central altar, while the element of proclamation, being subordinated 
to the sacrifice of the Mass, was relegated to a side pulpit. If the 
functions of the Puritan meeting-house and of the mediaeval Catholic 
sanctuary were so radically different, how are we to account for the 
neo-Gothic craze in some Congregational architecture in the nineteenth 
century ? 

Mr. Martin Briggs, F.R.I.B.A., son of a Congregational manse, has 
a shrewd guess to make, when he says : 

It probably dawned upon Free Churchmen of early Victorian 

days, conscious of their growing political power, that the sense of 

social inferiority under which they had smarted so long might be 

removed, or at least mitigated, if their despised " chapels " were 

made to " look like churches " of the new Anglican kind ... It 

was thus that the starveling spires, the shoddy tracery, and the 

hideous coloured-glass of these mid-Victorian chapels came to be 

derided more bitterly than the solid, Georgian, classical chapels, or 

the squat and homely " Bethels " ever had been.* 2 

It is not to be thought that the threadbare device of the intransigeant, 

" No Popery ", was not raised. To change the metaphor, it was the 

appropriately named Mr. J. A. Tabor from Independent Ipswich who 

beat the denominational drum in a pamphlet bearing the title, A 

Nonconforming Protest against the Papacy of Modern Dissenting 

Architecture imitative of Roman Catholic Churches (1863). The tabors 

might thunder, but the ears of the well-to-do middle-class merchants 

of Congregationalism were attuned only to the haunting melodies of 

plainsong in the mediaeval mode. They insisted upon having their 

" Nonconformist Cathedrals", as they proudly but inappropriately 

called them. Indeed, the very titles showed that these were the attempts 

of megalomaniacs to get even with the Anglicans ! 

The first Nonconformist chapel to be furnished with a chancel was 
Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel in Leeds, built in 1848. This honour was 
well deserved because the Unitarians had been the pioneers in reforming 
liturgical worship for a good century before the other Nonconformist 
denominations. 23 The first large-scale Congregational church to be 
erected in the new manner was Christ Church in Westminster Bridge 
Road, London, which was completed in 1872. Its interior was designed 
in the shape of a Greek cross, three arms of which were occupied in 
galleries and the fourth contained the communion-table and the side 
pulpit and was flanked also by the choir seats and the organ. It had an 
impressive exterior culminating in a massive but finely-proportioned 
stone spire. The entire building was finished in stone at great cost. 

6 * 



Not far away the trustees of the future Westminster Chapel had 
caused a brick building to be erected where an equal number of seats 
was provided at a quarter the cost, and possibly with a quarter the 
distinction of style (1863-5). It would be unfair to Gothic to describe 
this architectural speech-box as of that manner ; it is far better to 
accept Martin Briggs suggestion that " a charitable critic might liken 
its brick interior, rather vaguely, to some of the Italian Romanesque 
Churches lauded by Ruskin "." A more genuinely Romanesque edifice 
was designed by the Nonconformist architect, James Cubitt, for Union 
Chapel, Islington. The Royal Academician, Alfred Waterhouse, 
designed two unusual edifices for Congregationalism. One of these was 
the King s Weigh-House Chapel in the West End, built in 1891 at a 
cost of 60,000 to provide seating accommodation for 600 persons, and 
soon to be renowned as the highest of high Congregational churches 
under the ministries of Dr. John Hunter and Dr. W. E. Orchard. The 
other sanctuary built by Waterhouse was Lyndhurst Road, Hampstead, 
erected to accommodate the great congregation of Dr. R. F. Horton. 
Neither of them was an appropriate sounding board for the " Noncon 
formist Conscience ". 

" From bare barn to King s Weigh-House " is the title of a journey 
that symbolizes the revolution that took place in nineteenth-century 
Congregational worship. The prayers, the praises, and the very setting 
of worship had changed almost out of recognition ; yet this fluidity 
was a living proof of the experimental flexibility of the life of the 
Congregational churches, and we are its grateful inheritors. 


Albert Peel, These Hundred Years, mi 1931, (1931), pp. 221 ff. 

2 Gospel-Requisites to Acceptable Prayer, p. 22. 

3 A New Directory for Nonconformist Churches, (1812), pp.56 f. 

* The Pulpit, a Biographical and Literary Account of Eminent Popular Preachers, inter 
spersed with occasional Clerical Criticism by Onesimus, (1809), ii.367. 

5 The History of Dissenters from the Revolution to the year IK08, (2nd edn.,1833), ii. 634. 

* English Presbyterian Eloquence &c. in a Collection of Remarkable Flowers of Rhetorick, 
By an Admirer of Monarchy and Episcopacy, (1736), p. 16. 

7 Solemn Recollection* before, at, and after the Celebration of the Lord s Supper, 

(Southampton, 1825). 

1 Cf. A. F. Scott Pearson, Thomas Cartwright and Elizabethan Puritamsm, pp.406 f. 
9 New Directory . . . , (1812), p. 10. 

10 op. cit., pp.57/8. 

11 op. cit., pp. 101/2. 

1 * C. W. Baird, A Chapter of Liturgies (1856), preface, p.xxiv. 

Hymns and Human Life, (1952), p. 154. 

14 No. 462 in Congregational Praise. 

" p.52. 

Both citations are from the Fourth Order of Service. 

" Leslie S. Hunter, John Hunter, D.D., A Life, (1921), pp.211 f. 

General Introduction to Companion to Congregational Praise, ed. K. L. Parry, (1953), 
p. xxv. 

19 A. G. Matthews, The Congregational Churches of Staffordshire, (1924), pp. 207f. 

20 Cf. B. Nightingale, The Story of the Lancashire Congregational Union, pp.125 f. 

* Sermons preached in King s Weigh-House Chapel, London 1829 1869, Second Series, 

ed. with a biographical and critical sketch by H. Allon, (1875), p.xxxix. 
33 M. S. Briggs, Puritan Architecture and its Future, (1946\ pp.38 f. 
* Cf. Eliott Peaston: The Prayer Book Reform Movement. 
** Briggs, op. cit., p.49. 

The Writings of Richard Bancroft and 
the Brownists 

EVERY sincere student of the sixteenth century must echo the 
regret expressed by Professor Norman Sykes that the late Dr. 
Albert Peel was not able to see completed his long projected 
scheme for the publication of the writings of the early English Separa 
tists j 1 but even if we were to receive no more than what has already 
appeared of the project since Dr. Peel s death we should still stand 
immeasurably in his debt for the publication of the first two volumes, 
Cartwrightiana and The Writings of Robert Harrison and Robert 
Browne* These he edited before his untimely death, with the assistance 
of Professor Leland H. Carlson, and although our full debt to the latter 
will not be revealed until the remaining volumes appear, I imagine he 
would be the first to admit that to Dr. Peel must go the primary credit 
of having launched this important piece of work. 

It is typical of the scholarship of Albert Peel that his research should 
range far over the borderlands of his subject, and this is immediately 
illustrated by the fact that the first volume in the new series of Eliza 
bethan Nonconformist Texts should be not a detailed presentation of 
one of the Separatists representative figures, but the writings of their 
principal opponent on the Puritan side, Thomas Cartwright. It is seen 
again in the fact that, side by side with the publication of the works of 
Harrison and Browne, he has also bequeathed to us in their first printed 
form some important tracts illustrating the views of their principal 
antagonist in the episcopal party, Richard Bancroft. 3 These tracts 
appear anonymously in the library of St. John s College, Cambridge, 
in manuscript, and comprise three short but closely related treatises 4 on 
Elizabethan Separatism and Puritanism, which Dr. Peel shows were the 
work of Richard Bancroft. 

The publication of these works represents an enormous amount of 
editorial transcription which is of the high standard we should expect 
from Dr. Peel, although mistakes and misprints occur as they are 
almost bound to occur in a work of this magnitude. For this reason, if 
for no other, before we proceed to deal with the substance of the books, 

1 "Dr. Albert Peel and Historical Studies," TRANS., Vol. XVII, No. 1 (Jan., 1952), 
pp. 4-7. 

a Published for the Sir Halley Stewart Trust by George Allen and Unwin Ltd., (25s. 
and 35s.), 1951 and 1953. 

3 Tracts ascribed to Richard Bancroft, C.U.P. (21s.), 1953. 

* "Certen slaunderous speeches against the present Estate of the Church of Englande 
published to the .people by the Precisians"; "The opinions and dealinges of the 
Precisians"; "The most principall and cheife heresies in R: Brownes booke." 



I should like to add my plea to that of Dr. Nuttall in the Congregational 
Quarterly that the text in the remaining volumes of the Elizabethan 
Nonconformist Texts should be reproduced photographically, in order 
to leave the editor free to devote his time to biographical annotations 
and elucidations. This, I believe, would very greatly enhance the value 
of the series, not only for the scholar in providing him with the original 
text, but also for the more general reader in helping him among the 
more obscure historical and literary allusions. 

From the point of those who are interested in the origins of English 
Separatism it will be seen that in Tracts ascribed to Richard Bancroft 
and The Writings of Robert Harrison and Robert Browne* Dr. Albert 
Peel has provided us with invaluable source-material for a more 
thorough assessment of the relationship that developed between the 
Brownists and the episcopal authorities of the Elizabethan Church. It 
is specifically upon these two books that I have been asked to contribute 
this article. 

In an admirable introduction in the Tracts Dr. Peel discusses th e 
question of the authorship of the St. John s College manuscript. H e 
presents a thoroughly convincing case on historical, literary and biblio 
graphical grounds for assigning it to the pen of Richard Bancroft, the 
man who more than any other was used by Whitgift to root out Puri 
tanism in all its forms during the closing decades of the sixteenth 

Richard Bancroft had been a tutor in Cambridge from 1568 to 1574, 
and soon after this became chaplain to Bishop Coxe of Ely. In 1576 
Archbishop Grindal appointed him to be a University Preacher, and a 
few years later Bancroft came under the patronage of Elizabeth I s 
influential Vice-Chamberlain, Sir Christopher Hatton. 2 He was sub 
sequently very active against Puritanism in the diocese of Ely after 
Bishop Coxe s death in 1581, and when the University of Cambridge 
was requested by the Sheriff of Bury St. Edmunds to send a preacher 
to help in counteracting the influence of Puritanism in that town in 
1583, Bancroft was the man chosen. His career placed him in an 
admirable position to study the Puritan movement at first hand, for he 
had been at Cambridge during the time of Thomas Cartwright s brief 
tenure of the Lady Margaret Professorship, and he was active in East 
Anglia at a time when Browne and Harrison were conducting their 
experiment of a " gathered church " at Norwich. It is clear from 
Browne s own words that Bancroft had had direct dealings with him. 3 
These circumstances, combined with a shrewd mind and an ambitious 
nature, were enough to make Richard Bancroft the almost automatic 

1 Referred to in the footnotes of this article as Works. 

2 He became Lord Chancellor in 1587. 

3 A True and Short Declaration, Works, p. 405. 


choice for organizing measures for suppressing the Puritan movement, 
and he was eventually appointed to the Court of High Commission and 
became chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift. His promotion to a bishopric 
was inevitable, and he was appointed to the see of London in 1597 ; 
and with this background, his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury 
in 1604 1 merely confirmed the fact if confirmation were needed that 
the policy of James I towards Puritanism was to be no more conciliatory 
than that of his Tudor predecessor. 

There is, however, no need to suggest that because Bancroft was 
ambitious he was also a time-server, or that he did not genuinely believe 
in the necessity of the religious uniformity of the Elizabethan settlement. 
He had a keen mind, and, although he was not primarily a scholar, he 
was sufficiently widely read to meet the Puritans attack on the basis 
of their own theology and writings. The style of the Tracts is what we 
should expect from him, clear and concise, keen in its argument and 
systematic in its presentation. One may question his opinions, but 
there is never any doubt that he uses his evidence fairly, and the editor 
has remarked that in Bancroft s quotations from Puritan writers he has 
" noticed no case where the omissions or paraphrases have been unfair ". 
In the same way, although his detestation of Puritanism is obvious, and 
although in the manner of the time he does not omit to level the most 
comprehensive and omnibus charges of sedition, heresy and rebellion 
against his opponents, there is a welcome " absence of vituperation " 
and personal abuse. 

The theological position of the episcopal party that is revealed by the 
Tracts is thrown up into sharper relief as we compare its views with the 
ecclesiological position presented in The Writings of Robert Harrison 
and Robert Browne. This latter book gathers into one volume all the 
known extant writings of these two important Fathers of Separatism, 
and one cannot forbear voicing again the pleasure we feel at seeing that 
the book is so worthily dedicated to the devoted Research Secretary of 
this society, Charles Surman. 

The fact that the first writings of Separatism are now available 
generally should stimulate a new evaluation of their position and enable 
us to discover what were the significant and lasting elements in their 
thought, as distinct from those aspects of their life and thought that 
were too much conditioned by the exigencies of their situation to be of 
permanent value. A re-reading of their works shows that the central 
point at issue between themselves and the Church of England was 
neither the power of the civil magistrate in matters of church govern 
ment, nor yet the rule of bishops and presbyteries, but it was their 
concern for the purity of the Church as the Body of Christ. Other 
issues were derived from that. So Robert Harrison argued from the 

1 He died in 1610. 


harsh treatment meted out to the sons of Aaron 1 that it was clear that 
God would not tolerate even the least deviation from His divine pattern 
for the order and government of the Church. 2 Was not the fate of 
Nadab and Abihu, he asked, " to leaue a fearfull monument for all 
men to beholde, that they might take heed least in matters pertaining 
to the worshippe of God, they alter and chaunge euen the least thinge?" * 
It is clear that this attitude might easily develop, and in fact did develop, 
into a pharisaism and scrupulosity which has little to do with real 
religion, but which appears to be the besetting sin of those who are 
obsessed with the idea of purity whether moral or ritualistic to the 
exclusion of Christian charity. This tendency is perhaps more notice 
able in the attitude of Harrison than in that of Browne ; but if we can 
isolate their central principle as opposed to the perversion and excess 
which turned it sour, we should say that it was in their conception of 
the Church as a Holy Church belonging to a Holy God. It was for this 
reason that Harrison protested against the rule of the bishops, for under 
episcopal rule the Church itself could take no steps to ensure that its 
minister was competent to lead the parish in spiritual things, for " when 
a blinde leader is come to take vs by the hand, wee have no authoritie 
as the Church of God, to refuse him, or to complayne for redresse, or 
to remoue him, after we haue tried his inabilitie. Are not then our 
soules in bondage ? " 4 To Harrison and his colleagues the issue was 
between the rule of Christ and the rule of Antichrist in the Church, and 
the latter was always identified with the papacy and the kind of authority 
for which Rome stood : to charge the Church of England with retaining 
the forms of Antichrist was sufficient to damn it in their eyes as un 
christian and contrary to the Gospel. Hence the lineal descent of 
authority through the bishops from pre- Reformation times to their 
own day, far from being an argument for the validity of Anglican orders, 
was the primary reason why they rejected those orders as contrary to the 
standards of the New Testament : they were the signs and badges of 
Antichrist. " From whence haue they their calling, sendinge, and 
authoritie, such as pertaineth to a Minister ? " asks Robert Harrison, 
" Hadde they not it from those which sitt in the chayre of Antichrist ? 
Yea, ho we manie are in all Christendome, which haue bene so rightlie 
ordeyned, but that their ordination haue come from the popishe 
Prelacie, within three or foure generations at the most ? Nowe if a 
man take a griffe of a sowre fruite, and plant it, & then take a griffe 
of that newe planted, & plant that : and take of that agayne & plant 
it the thirde time, and so continewe vnto the hundreth time : will it loose 

1 Numbers iii.4, xxvi.61. 

* A Little Trratise vppon the firsts Verse of the 122. Pio/m, Works, pp.77 f. 

ibid., Op. cit., p.78. 


the sowreness and gather sweetnesse ? No more can an vnlawefull 
callinge bring foorth a lawfull, though it descende from one to another 
an hundred or a thousande times V It is interesting to see here the 
very argument reproduced against recognition of Anglican Orders that 
the Anglican Church has so often used against the recognition of the 
non-episcopal Churches. Seen within its context, however, the argu 
ment is fundamentally that " by their fruits ye shall know them ", 
and this remains the final test of any Church Order that claims to have 
upon it the infallible seal of the Almighty s exclusive blessing, whether 
it is being advanced by high-church Anglicans or by high-church 
Separatists. The history of both high-church episcopal theory and of 
high-church Separatist theory both seem to show that the insistence 
upon purity of Orders or worship within the Church can produce an 
exclusiveness and division which is a clear denial of the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ. The True and Short Declaration, which Robert Browne gives 
us of the relationships between himself and Harrison in the gathered 
church in Middelburg, makes very unhappy reading, and the account 
wholly seems to justify the ironical comment that Richard Bancroft 
makes about Puritans generally, that "they ioyne togeather in iudgement 
amonge them selves like Germans lippes ".* There is still some sting 
in that. 

I have devoted some space to Harrison, because I think a comparison 
of him and Browne will show that he was the more extreme Separatist. 
His writing is more discursive it shows more signs of coming from a 
preacher than that of Browne, and he is more concerned with attacking 
what he conceives to be the unscriptural basis of the Church of England 
than with a constructive exposition of church life and government. 
However, the central theme the purity of the Church is the same in 
both men s thought ; although I think Robert Browne makes it more 
clear than Robert Harrison does that this was to spring from the Lord 
ship of the Living Christ and not from the moral efforts of the members. 
But what Harrison urged against the rule of the bishops within the 
Church is basically the same as Browne urges against the interference 
of the magistrate in ecclesiastical affairs. The secular prince has not 
been given the keys of the Kingdom, 3 and if he is to be regarded as 
within the covenant of grace he must be within the Church and therefore 
under pastoral oversight. 4 Browne maintained that for this reason the 
commands of the magistrate were to be obeyed in so far as they were 
agreeable to the Word of God ; for " the Magistrates commaundement, 
must not be a rule vnto me of this and that duetie, but as I see it agree 
with the worde of God. So then it is an abuse of my guifte and calling, 

1 ibid., pp.98 f. 

Tracts, p. 47. Contractions have been written in full, e.g. fro =from. 

3 A Treatise of reformation withuot tarying for anie y Works, p. 155. 

4 ibid., Op. cir., pp.153 f. 


if I cease preaching for the Magistrate, when it is my calling to preach, 
yea & woe unto me, if I preach not, for necessitie is laied vpon me ". 

This calling, however, was not merely a subjective feeling in the heart 
of the preacher, for Browne would have insisted that the preacher s 
call from Christ must be recognised and ratified through the Church. 
The instrument through which the Church recognised the call of its 
officers was primarily the local family of Christians that have been 
gathered by Jesus Christ : Robert Browne gives us the heart of the 
Separatist contribution to the doctrine of the Church when he describes 
Christians as "a companie or number of beleeuers, which by a willing 
couenaunt made with their God, are vnder the gouernement of God and 
Christ, and keepe his Lawes in one holie communion". 2 At the same 
time it should be understood that Browne s conception of the Church 
was not anarchic, and the recognition of the Church was to be given in 
the act of ordination by the solemnity of prayer and the imposition of 
hands, "if such imposition of handes bee not turned into pompe or 
superstition". 3 It is clear that Robert Browne was very much more con 
structive and more moderate than Harrison. Now that we have his 
works brought together he will repay a careful study of his life and 
thought, for although he gave his name to the movement of Separatism 
there are distinct signs in his writings notably in his attitude to the 
civil magistrate, and in what he said about synods of that more 
developed Congregationalism that appeared in the early years of the 
seventeenth century : it should never be forgotten that his eventual 
conformity may have been due not to a failure of nerve but to some 
moderation of that extreme and uncatholic Separatism which regarded 
itself as infallible, and all others as belonging to Antichrist. 

For the insistence upon the Church s absolute purity may be a failure 
to recognise that the Church must always stand humbly in the need of 
Christ s forgiveness and His grace. Harrison carried out the logic of 
his position, for to him the toleration of one unworthy member within 
the Church tended towards the " so wring of the whole lumpe ", and 
he urged that the members of the Church were to " search out, where 
the iniquitie is, and let the offender beare his shame and rebuke, howe 
excellent a personage soeuer he haue bene, for turninge the trueth of 
God into a lye ".* The logic of this was put into practice at Middel- 
burg, and produced division and tragedy that demonstrated the danger 
not of Separatism alone, but of all exclusive high-church principle. 

Today we can look at the issues between Bancroft and the Brownists 
and discover that our forefathers were no more infallible than their 
opponents, and that they did not always have the best of it either in 

ibid., pp. 158.f 

a A Booke which sheweth the life and manners of all true Christians, ibid., p. 227. 

ibid., p.341. 

* A Little Treatise, Works, p.95. 


argument or in Christian charity. It was they and not Bancroft who 
insisted that there was only one fixed form of the Church according to 
the New Testament and that they were in possession of it ! Richard 
Bancroft protested that since " the Apostles and Ministers at the first 
did not bynde them selves to anye one order in theire proceedinges and 
governement ; it is not like, that ever they ment to bynde the Churche 
of god to anye one V Here the wheel has turned full circle, for R. W. 
Dale used precisely the same argument in defence of Congregationalism 
at the end of the nineteenth century. 2 It should be remembered that 
although the Separatists were bitterly persecuted by Bancroft and his 
colleagues, they had violently denounced the Church of England as a 
Church of Antichrist, whereas in contrast to that denunciation Bancroft s 
view that the true Church of Christ was to be found wherever the Word 
of God was preached and the Sacraments administered sounds positively 
charitable and catholic ! 3 I also imagine that many modern Congrega- 
tionalists would agree with Bancroft when he argued that there is 
nothing wrong with ceremonies per se, if they are not clearly contrary 
to the Spirit of God s Word. He defended the continuation of certain 
ceremonies in the Church of England by pointing out that, just as the 
early Christians maintained some Jewish ceremonies in the hope of 
converting the Jews even although they did so with some danger, 
since " many ascribed vnto them some necessitie of salvation " the 
Church of England should retain some of the pre-Reformation cere 
monies in the hope of winning over the Catholics. 4 It should be noted 
that the danger, which Bancroft professed to see, that the ceremony 
which begins by being indifferent ends by being regarded as a necessary 
means for salvation, has been shown to be real enough in the subsequent 
history of the Anglican Church. 

One cannot hope to deal adequately with all the issues raised between 
the Bishops and the Brownists in the scope of a single review article, 
but the importance of the new books which have come from Dr. Peel s 
editorship is clear. Both Browne and Harrison were young men in 
their thirties when they began to put their conception of the Church 
into practice, and the importance of their views is not that they presented 
us with a system which we can regard as definitive for all time, but that 
they established certain principles about the Church from their study 
of Scripture which other men were to develop and, in some cases, to 

1 Tracts, p. 107. 

* " Between a form of church government and those great truths concerning Christ and 
the Christian redemption which form the chief part of the substance of the New 
Testament there is an obvious difference. What is true once is true for ever . . . But 
a form of church government which was the best possible organisation for the Church 
in the first century may, perhaps, have been the worst possible organisation for the 
Church of the third." Congregational Principles (1920 edn.), pp.4/5. 

Tracts, pp.108 f. 
4 ibid., pp.157 f. 


modify. We need to remind ourselves again that, however much modern 
Congregationalism owes to the sixteenth-century Separatists for their 
insistence that the local church was a true church and that it was 
responsible to Christ alone, it is equally in debt to the Puritan non- 
Separatists of the seventeenth century for their insistence that the local 
church is a microcosm and a part of the Church Universal. It is from 
these later men that we have gained the insight into Scripture which 
gives us our distinctive conception of catholicity ; for, although they 
found themselves in geographical separation from the Church of England 
by reason of their exile, they insisted that their national Church was a 
true Church and they refused to consider themselves as separate from 
her in any spiritual sense. We are debtors therefore to the Separatist 
and to the non- Separatist, and if the publication of The Writings of 
Robert Harrison and Robert Browne provides us with the incentive for 
a more thoroughgoing and rational reassessment of our debt to as 
well as our differences from the Separatists, it will have done an 
invaluable service for the churches of the present day. 


John Durie s Sponsors 

A figure deserving a more comprehensive and definitive appre 
ciation than he has yet received is that spiritual ancestor of the 
ecumenical movement, John Durie. In the labours for church 
unity which during the Protectorate he carried on tirelessly, 
though unavailingly, in Switzerland, Germany and Holland, Durie 
carried with him not only a passport signed by Cromwell but a letter 
of commendation signed by ministers at Oxford and Cambridge and 
in London and elsewhere. A copy of this letter, which Durie took 
when he went abroad in April 1654, is preserved in the Staatsarchiv 
at Marburg, 1 and from this MS. the signatures have been transcribed 
by the kindness of Dr. Theodor Sippell of Marburg. Even if these 
were not intended to carry more than general approval, their number 
and quality indicate widespread interest in Durie s hopes and plans. 
They were written in three columns, with those of the London 
ministeis in the centre. All the names save four are to be found in the 
D.N.B, and /or Calamy Revised. The four are : Peter French, 
Canon of Christ Church, Cromwell s brother-in-law; William Carter, 
Preacher at Westminiter, one of the " Dissenting Brethren "; Samuel 

Fisher, Preacher at St. Bride s (cf. W. A. Shaw, Hist, of Eng. Ch 

1640-1660, ii.307); and Richard Minshall, Master of Sidney. Perhaps 
the only name whose inclusion is surprising is that of Samuel Austin, 
Minister at Menheniot, Cornwall; Stephen Marshall, Preacher at 
Ipswich, was also hardly a London minister. 

The Oxford names were : John Owen, Edmund Staunton, Robert 
Harris, Gerard Langbaine, Henry Wilkinson (Canon of Christ Church), 
Daniel Greenwood, John Wilkins, Henry Langley, Thomas Goodwin, 
Thankful Owen, Henry Wilkinson (Principal of Magdalen Hall) and 
Peter French. 

The names in the centre column were : Edmund Calamy, Richard 
Vines, Thomas Manton, Stephen Marshall, William Carter, Samuel 
Balmford, Peter Witham, Roger Drake, James Nalton. Samuel Fisher, 
Gabriel Sangar, John Meriton, Samuel Austin, Simeon Ashe, Thomas 
Gataker, John Fuller, Samuel Clarke, Joseph Caryl, William Cooper 
and Philip Nyc. 

The Cambridge names were : Lazarus Seaman, Richard Minshall, 
John Arrowsmith, Anthony Tuckney, Thomas Horton, Samuel Bolton, 
John Worthin^ton, William Dillingham, Sidrach Simpson and Ralph 


1 According to Karl Braucr, Die Unionslatigkeit John Duries unter dtm Protektorat 
Cromwells (Marburg, 1907), p. 15, n.4, there is also a copy in the Staatsarchiv at Zurich. 


Lists of Poor Ministers c. 1785 

The documents which follow are from the Parker MSS., in the 
possession of the Rev. Wilton E. Rix, M.A., of Oxford, who has 
kindly given his permission for them to be reproduced. They throw 
much light on the difficult circumstances in which many ministers and 
ministers widows were living during the second half of the eighteenth 
century. They also provide some details of a number of men concern 
ing whom little is otherwise known. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Abney, part of whose residuary estate was distributed 
for the relief of these men and women, was the last surviving daughter 
of Sir Thomas and Lady Abney, of Stoke Newington. She was one 
of the three daughters of Sir Thomas second marriage (to Mary 
Gunston). 1 She died on 20 August, 1782, aged 78, when the Abney 
fortune was given to charity. 

The disposal of the bequest was entrusted to Mr. Thomas Streatfield, 
of Stoke Newington, Esquire , Mr. John Harrison, of the Million 
Bank London, Gentleman , my much Esteemed Friend the Reverend 
Thomas Tayler, who was chaplain to Mrs. Abney, and Mr. Joseph 
Parker, who was Steward and Almoner to Mrs. Abney. It is the 
initial letters of their surnames, S., H., T. and P., which appear in the 
right-hand margin, at the side of the various recommendations re 
ceived from Mr. Matthew Towgood, Dr. Samuel Stennett and Dr. 
Thomas Gibbons. 2 

On the whole the MS. is clear and in a good state of preservation, 
but there are a few places where it has been torn, and a few words 
are missing. The notes have been abbreviated from fuller identifica 
tions supplied by Mr. Surman, to whom I wish to express my thanks. 


Mr Matth Towgood s List 
Poor Ministers 

1 Revd. Mr. Watters 3 of Bridport Dorset. This Gentleman is a most S 
deserving Object, his Circumstances very low. He has a sister 
dependent on him who is insane so that if the Gentlemen should 
think proper to allot different sums it is hoped this poor worthy man 
will be particularly consider d. NB This Mr. Waters is ye Gentle 
man Mr. Towgood mention d to Mr. Streatfield a Year or two 
since when he was unfortunately too late in his Application. Mr. 
Towgoods Father writes concerning the above Person, That to all 
his other Afflictions I might add his own very bad state of health 
for he is so afflicted with the Rheumatism as to be carried to Church 
in a Chair and even then cannot go into the Pulpit but preaches in 
the Desk. 



2 Revd. Mr. Lamport* of Honiton. My Friends write me that he is S 
very poor indeed has a very large Family and as to Character and 
Conduct deserving of Especial Regard. 

3 Revd. Mr. Adams 5 of Dartmouth a Batcheller but his income is so P 
small and his circumstances are so low that he has lived for many 
Years in such a State as most people would call great Poverty. 

4 Revd. Mr. Baynham* of Totness Devon Has a large and growing S 
Family and a very small income, He wrote me some time since that 
were it not for the occasional relief which he received from London, 

he should want even the necessarys of Life. 

5 Revd. Mr. Moore 7 of Modbury he has for many Years labour d P 
under such a disorder in his stomach & bowels as has render d ye 
smallness of his income a much greater affliction to him than it 
would have been to a person in health. He is a man of such eminent 
piety and such excellence of Character that if the Gentlemen knew 
him they would think it a great happiness to have it in their power 

to relieve this most worthy Disciple. 

6 Revd. Mr. Kello* of Truro Cornwall his income very small and his dead 
Age and infirmitys such as render him a very deserving Object. 

7 Revd. Mr. Poole* of Torrington now a widdower his late wife H 
afflicted near 20 Years with a Complication of disorders so that the 
greatest part of their little fortune was expended in Physic &c. 

He wrote me some time since that his income was scarcely 17 
p. ann. 

8 Revd. Mr. Castle 10 of Dulverton has a small Salary from his people S 
and a large Family his principal dependance for many Years has 
been on occasional Charities. 

9 Revd. Mr. Watkins 11 of Puddington Devon a very worthy man P 
depending for his Support on assistance from ye Funds &c as the 
Provision made for him by his Congregation is not sufficient for t 
his Maintenance. 

10 Revd. Mr. Sampson 1 * of Truro (at the Independant Meeting) not P 
personally known to me but strongly recommended by my ffriends 

at Exeter. 

11 Revd. Mr. Wildboar 13 of Falmouth under the same Circumstances P 
as Mr. Sampson. 

Ministers Widow 

Mrs. Collier. The Wid. of ye late Baptist Minister 14 at Moreton Devon. P 
She is in very strait Circumstances and has no assistance from ye 
Widows Fund. 
Ministers Daughters 

Furze) Two Daughters of ye Revd. Mr. Furze 15 formerly Minister P 

Furze) at Exeter. They are old indigent & infirm and are repre 

sented to me by my Father as very distress d & deserving 


Mrs. Dowdell 1 * Daughters of three dissenting Ministers who are P 
Mrs. Orchard 17 left in great distress. T 

Mrs. Harris 18 P 

Dr. Stennets List 
Poor Ministers 

1 Revd. Mr. Joseph Jenkins 1 Wrexham. A very worthy and useful S 
man. He has four Children and one coming his people are in such 
low Circumstances as not to be able to raise him themselves above 
4 p ann and with all the assistances he has from other quarters 


his income is very narrow having little or nothing of his own and 
with his wife perhaps about two or three hundred pounds. 

2 Revd. Mr. Josiah Lewis 20 Broughton Hampshire. He is a very 
worthy and useful Man was educated with a view to ye Ministry 
has I apprehend nothing however very little of his own. The 
people may raise him abt 40 ;> ann the chief of it rises from Mr. 
Stedes 21 (?Stecles) Family, auther of ye poem published under the 
name of Theodosia of which Dr. Furneax 22 was the Editor. Mr. 
Lewis has a Wife but no Children He is a weakly Man often out 
of order. 

3 Revd. Mr. T. Twining 23 Trowbridge Wilts. A very worthy 
amiable Man. He had his Education at Hoxton. His Connexion is 
rather with the General Baptists but his Sentiments are consider d 
as moderate and Evangelical he was a member of my Congregation 
he has a rTamily but what number of Children I can t directly 
I know his Circumstances are such as will render the kind of assist 
ance the Gentlemen may think fit to afford him very acceptable. 

4 Revd. Mr. James Ash worth 24 Gildersome near Leeds Yorkshire a 
Nephew of tl e late Dr. Ashworth. A very worthy useful Man He 
has, I take it three or four Children and I apprehend no private 
fortune of his own. What his people may do for him with other 
assistances may amount to about 40 p ann or more but I scarcely 
think 50. 

5 Revd. Mr. \V. Crabtree 25 Bradford Yorksh. a pious acceptable and 
very successful Minister. He is in advanced life I suppose sixty six 
or seven, has I think a Wife but whether any family besides cannot 
say. However none I apprehend from whom he receives any assist 
ance. His people are generally poor. They may raise him perhaps 
about 30 p nnn what renders his Case particularly compassionable 
is his having lost most if not all the little property he had by trust 
ing it in the hands of a person he took to be honest & religious. 

6 Revd. Mr. Robert Burnside 26 Minister to ye people who meet on 
the seventh day at Cripplegate. He is a very pious & able young 
Man had his Education at Aberdeen where he is consider d by the 
professors as having made unusual application. He is about 24 
Years of Age. Has nothing of his own a Mother a blind woman 
and a Sister almost intirely dependent on him. He may have about 
25 p ann at Cripplegate some few other little assistances and is 
Usher at Mr. Harris s 27 School at Muswell Hill he is a very deserv 
ing Man. May I be allow d to wish him particularly consider d. 

7 Revd. Mr. John Tommas 28 Bristol. He is Minister in the Pithay 
and is much esteem d as a worthy usefull Minister and of an 
Excellent Spirit. His people do raise him I apprehend something 
handsome but I know his Circumstances to be very strait he having 
little if anything of his own and a very numerous family who have 
been Expensive to him indeed he hath met with very sore afflictions 
which he hath borne with exemplary patience. 

8 Revd. Mr. Thos. Lanpdon 29 Leeds Yorksh. He had his Education 
under Mr. Evans 30 at Bristol is very acceptable & useful at Leeds 
has nothing of his own and his people in narrow Circumstances the 
whole of what he receives may be about 40 p ann. 

9 Revd. Mr. Benj Francis 31 Horsley Glocestersh. He had his Educa 
tion at Bristol is a very acceptable & useful Minister his Congrega 
tion is numerous consisting of ye lower sort of ye people among the 
Clothiers so poor they are that I think I have heard him say that 
they have not a thousand pound property among them all he has 


very little of his own a numerous Family and a great deal of 

10 Revd. Mr. Button" Dean Street Southwark. I mention him as P 
knowing his Circumstances to have been very strait. He married 

the Daur of Mr. James 33 of Hitchin had a trifle or nothing with her 
and nothing of his own. Mr. Warne 3 * did leave him something I 
can t directly recollect what it was I have a notion two or three 
hundred pounds to come to him after ye Death of another He is a 
pious good Man & I think several Children. 

1 1 Revd. Mr. Sam Rowles 3 *. He is at present settled with no People. P 
Is a sensible worthy Minister Had his Education at Bristol, a very 
infirm Wife and is of narrow Circumstances, He lives in Lond. 
and was Minister of a People at Rotherithe. 

12 Revd. Mr. Jacob James 3 * a Baptist Minister of the General Pers- P 
wasion in Monmouthshire a very worthy Man particularly known 

to Dr. Llewelyn 37 who mention d him as a very worthy man but I 
am not possess d of ye particulars of his Circumstances. 

13 Revd. Mr. John Ayre 3 * Walgrave Northamptonshire a Wife and P 
six Children never had with the assistance of ye Fund and all 
other ways above 30 a year Eldest Child 13 & youngest turn d of 
two Years. He is a worthy good Man. 

14 Revd. Mr. Thos. Henry 3 * at Ebenezer in ye parish of Lanvair in P 
ye County of Pembroke S.W. Church contains 150 Members has 
been preacher & Copastor abt 17 years receives from four to five 
pounds a year has a wife & six Children Rents a small farm of 

6 p ann these are ye sources of his support & dependance. 

See ye above Case recommended also by Mr. Williams, 40 
Mr. Caleb Evans, 41 Mr. Richd Jones 42 . 

Other Objects 

Mrs. Ruth Lacy Neece of Mr. John Lacy 43 late excellent & worthy P 
Baptist Minister at Portsmouth abt 40 years Her Mother who is 
quite helpless depends chiefly on her for her support has nothing 
of her own Sickly. 

Mrs. Eliza Stennet Colchester The Wido of Mr. Benj Stennet 44 dead 
my Uncle She has two Daurs dependent on her & has nothing of P 
her own Has been used to keep a little School which is now sunk 
away & brings her in very little. But I submit it If an impropri 
ety hope shall be forgiven. 

May 5th, 1784 Dr. Stennet informed me that the above Eliza 
Stennet is dead but recommends the Daughters as being in very 
necessitous Circumstances. Susanna Stennet - - Eliza Stennet 

Revd. Mr. Jacob James Monmouthsh 

Revd. Mr. Hume 45 of Henly Warwicksh 

Revd. Mr. David Evans 4 * Craig Carmarthensh 
Revd. Mr. Robt Hall Senr. 47 Arnesby Leicestersh 

Dr. Gibbon s List 

Poor Ministers 

Revd. Mr. Jos. Field 4 * of Halsted Essex S 

Revd. Mr. Wm Cooper 49 of Chelmsford Essex Income abt 68 p ann P 
a Wife & seven Children from 13 to 2 Yrs of Age House Rent 
13 p ann. see Letter. 

Revd. Mr. Geo. Gold 50 of Westham, Essex a Wife & six or seven Chldn H 
Nothing to subsist on besides what his people raise him which 
doth not amount to 40 annually. 


Revd. Mr. Lawrence Buttenvorth 51 at Bengeworth near Pershore A P 

Wife & 3 or 4 Children Salary between 40 & 50 p. arm a few 

years back was possessd of more than 800 but by intrusting it in 

bad hands lost every shilling. 
Revd. Mr. Purdy 52 of Chipping Norton Oxfordsh Baptist Church abt P 

30 members about 150 Hearers Income from ye people not 40 

p ann a wife & one or two Children. 
Revd. Mr. John Verney 53 of Clapham has ser (?ved) small Congreation on 

(sic) these sevl Years has a Family of four Children, of good Moral Mr H 

Character. List 

Revd. Mr. Dickenson 5 * of Glowster see the Letter T 

Dissenting Ministers Widows 
Mrs. Ann Jenkins Widow of Revd. Mr. Herbert Jenkins 55 who was S 

Minister of Maidstone between 20 & 30 Years Left with a large 

Family unprovided for two of them thro weakness of Constitution 

almost incapable of any Service. 
Eliza Jones Wido of Revd. Mr. Evan Jones 5 * of Little Baddow Essex P 

in 65th Yr. of her Age in very low Circumstances and almost 

deprived of Sight and very infirm lately her eldest Son dyed & by 

this means four Ophans (sic) are devolved upon her. 

Ministers Daughters 
Mrs. A. Hickman 57 In strait Circumstances. Her late Father a very P 

pious & Exemplary Minister. 
Mary Thorley Daur of the late Revd. Mr. John Thorley 5 * of Chipping P 

Norton who was Minister there upwards of 60 Yrs is now Eighty 

Years old & almost blind & very lame. 

Other Objects 

Eliza Creswell 59 Wido recommended as a poor honest well deserving P 

John Tilley 60 No 38 Aldermanbury aged 60 has an infirm Wife who is P 

deprived of her sight. 

Mary Kendal* 1 a Wido in Circumstances that need assistance. 
Mrs. Waterson 62 Wido aged & in low Circumstances. 
John Collier* 3 Nephew of Dr. Gibbons Was defrauded of 700 by an 

Exr. dying insolvent has a wife & three Children his income very 

slender to defray ye Expenses of daily maintenance frequent Lyings 

in, Miscarriages Sickness & Burials, 

Dr. Gibbon s Second List 
Poor Ministers 

Revd. Mr. Benj Cadman* 4 of Mitchel Dean Glocestersh. He says that P 
all he can promise himself to live upon including the benefit of 
both ye Funds is about 17 . A Man of very good Character. 

The Revd. Mr. Newton** of Milbourn Port Dorsetshire. He is, says the T 
Revd. Mr. Henry Field** who writes on his behalf, Minister, I 
think of Blandford a Man of good Character advanced in years, 
and incapable of going on in his work and has little or nothing 
to depend on but the Charity of his Friends. 

The Revd. Mr. Thos Evans 47 Minister of Biggleswade in Bedfordshire P 
is very far advanced in years, very infirm his People few & poor in 
very indigent Circumstances. I have lately heard that his Cir 
cumstances are exceeding low indeed perhaps he has little more, 
as he is incapable of preaching as usual, than the allowance of ye 
Congregational Fund. 


The Revd. Mr. Simpson 4 * of Warley near Hallifax. This Case is enterd P 
in my List, recommended by Mrs. Unthank** who lives with in my 
Mrs. Brown 70 , Newington. List. 

Revd. Mr. Wm Northend 71 of Bridlington Yorkshire He bears a good P 
Character and writes in a Letter to Dr. Gibbons that he owes ten 
pounds or more that his wife has had a very state of health 
ever since they came to Bridlington which (July 83) was near 
seven Years, that his people are poor and that his Salary from 
them for ye Seats was but about 15 or 16 pounds p annum. 

Revd. Mr. John Sykes 72 of Guestic Norfolk. He writes that his Salary P 
is quite uncertain that it is sometimes ten & sometimes as low as 
eight pounds and that the greater part of the Church Members 
who love ye Word are so poor that they can give little or no assistance 
and that he has been settled where he is seven years, during which 
time the Church has been considerably increased but yet his 
Salary is diminish d . 

Revd. Mr. Daniel Becking 73 late of Terling Essex has a Wife, is in very in 
low Circumstances indeed, bears an exceeding good Character and Streat- 
find his voice is so low that he is not likely to be accepted at any fields 
other place. He is Minister at Tirling no more tho from what I list, 
have learned he lives there still. 

Dissenting Ministers W 7 idows 

Mrs. Eliza Curtis W idow of the late Revd. Mr. Curtis 74 (?of) P 

Linton left with four Children in very low Circumstances. A very 
deserving Woman, one Son chargeable to her, a Daughter not 
quite grown up. 

Mrs. Mary Gayler W T idow of the late Revd. Mr. James Gayler 75 of P 
Dedham in Essex nothing to depend on but ten pounds or a little 
more, rather of a weak Constitution. 

Mrs. Eliza Drake Widow of the late Revd. Mr. John Drake 7 * of Oulney P 
Bucks in very low Circumstances has had a Daughter a Lunatic for 
sometime but lately turn d out of St. Luke s incurable. The 
Mother in great Affliction & unable to support her Daughter. 

Mrs. Panton Wido of Revd. Mr. Panton 77 of Winborn Dorsetshire Mr H 
recommended as a proper object by Revd. Mr. Hobbs 78 of Col 
chester. This Case is also recommended by sundry other persons 
& is enter d in my List. 

Mrs. Margaret Connell Widow of the late (PWilliam) Connell 7 * 

dissenting Minister of Rendham Suff. She was left with a Family 
of six Children & in a Letter to Dr. Gibbons says that some Cir 
cumstances which have lately occurr d will render assistance at 
this time peculiarly acceptable A Woman as far as I have heard 
of truly worthy Character. Her Letter was dated Augt 20. 1783. 

Dissenting Ministers Daughters 

Mrs. Eliza Jones Daur by his first Wife of Revd. Mr. King 10 late of 
Oundle She is a widow far advanced in Life, very low in Circum 
stances used to join in Communion with Dr. Gibbons Church but 
has been sometime at St. Ives Huntingdonshire. 

Mrs. Sarah Gunn Daughter of Revd. Mr. Sills* 1 many Years since 
Minister of Henly Oxfordshire She is advanced in Years and 
represents herself, and I have no reason to think ye Contrary in 
much distress She is recommended to me by ye Revd. Dr. 
Williams* 2 of Sydenham Kent. 

7 * 


Other Objects 

Mrs. rence (PLawrence)* 3 advanced in Years, a widow in very low P 

Circumstances & of virtuous Character. NB She is a Member of 
our Church and the only one either my Church or Congregation 
that I have mention d either in ye former or present List tho 
several are in very indigent Circumstances I should not have put 
down her Name had I not been solicited. 

Mrs. Ann Waterson** a Wido far advanced in Yrs in very low Circum- P 
stances & I have no reason to think but of good Character. I 
suppose this maybe ye same person recommended in first List. 

Mrs. Urania Hunt* 5 a Widow Aged 64 if not more, very infirm, her 
Eyes fail her so as to render her incapable of getting her lively- 
hood, afflicted with a dropsy. Member of the Weighhouse Dr. 
Langford** shew d her great Respect. 

1 D.N.B., j.i . Sir Thos. Abney. 

2 Matthew Towgood was son to Michaijah Towgood, for whom see D.N.B., as also 
for Stennet (s.v. Joseph, his grandfather) and Gibbons. 

3 George Waters, minister at Bridport 1769-87. 

4 William Lamport, minister at Uffculme & Honiton. d. 1788. 
TRANS. ,v. 214. 

5 John Adams, minister at Dartmouth 1746-95. Cong. Mag., 1825, 606. 

6 Henry Baynham, minister at Totnes, c. 1773-91. Presbn. Thompson MS. (D.W.L.) 

7 Henry Moore. 1732-1802; minister at Modbury 1757-87. Cong. Mag., 1821, 382. 

Peter Kello(w), nearly 50 yrs. at Truro. d.c.1784. Cong. Mag., 1821, 496, 553. 

John Poole. C. Deeble, Record of Howe Church, Torrington (1896); TRANS., v. 213. 

10 George Castle. Bapt. Hist. Soc. Trans., xiv. 123. 

11 William Watkins, minister at Puddington 1757- . Cong. Mag., 1825, 52. 

12 Peter Sampson, minister at Truro 1770-85. Cong. Mag., 1821, 610. 

13 James Bakewell Wildbore, minister at Falmouth 1781-89, & again 1793-1813. Cong. 
Mag., 1822, 447. 

14 John Collier, minister at Moretonhampstead 1760-80. 

15 Philip Furze, minister at Exeter, 1719-24. Con?. Mag., 1825, 608. 

16 ? daughter of Matthew Dowdell. Densham and Ogle, Story of Chs. of Dorset, p.98. 

17 ? daughter of Joel Orchard, minister at Chudleigh in 1772 or ? of Richard Orchard. 
Densham & Ogle, 71, 357, 372. 


" Minister at Wrexham, 1773-94. A. N. Palmer, Hist, of Older Noncon. of Wrexham, 
104 foil. 

20 unidentified. 

21 unidentified. 

22 D.N.B. 

23 Thomas Twining, G. E. Evans, Vestiges of Prof. Dissent, p. 244; TRANS., v. 213. 
2A James Ashworth, Bapt. minister at Gildersome c. 1772. Thompson MS. 

25 William Crabtree, Bapt. minister in Bradford, 1772. TRANS., v. 377. 

24 Robert Burnside. D.N.B. 
27 unidentified. 

M John Tommas, Bapt. minister in Bristol, 1772. TRANS., v. 378n. 
Thomas Langdon, 1755-1824. Bapt. Qtly. vi. (1932). 

*> Hugh Evans, tutor at Bristol Bapt. Acad. 1758-79. H. McLachlan, Eng. Educ. under 
the Test Acts, 92f. 

31 Benjamin Francis, Bapt. minister at Horsley in 1772. Thompson MS. 

32 William Button, 1754-1821. W. Wilson, Hist. Dissg. Chs. in London, iv, 227. 

J Samuel James, minister at Hitchin 1743-73. W. Urwick, Noncon. in Herts., 647. 

34 unidentified. 

35 Samuel Rowles. Evan. Mag., 1797, 429; Wilson, iv. 366. 

36 unidentified. 

37 Thomas Llewelyn. D.N.B. 

38 unidentified. 

39 Thomas Henry, minister at Ebenezer, Llanfair, Pern., 1772. Thompson MS. 

40 unidentified. 

41 Tutor at Bristol Bapt. Acad. 1767-91. McLachlan, p.93. 

42 unidentified. 

43 John Lacy, Bapt. minister at Portsmouth, 1772. Thompson MS. 

44 unidentified. 

45 unidentified. 
44 unidentified. 

47 Robert Hall, Bapt minister at Arnesby, Leics., 1753-91. D.N.B. 


* Joseph Field, minister at Halstead, 1756-91. T. W. Davids, Annals of Evan. Noncon. 

in Essex, p.403. 

* William Cooper, 1742-1814, minister at Cbelmsford 1777-1814. Davids, p.467. 
so George Gold, minister at West Ham 30-40 yrs.; d.1810, aet. 65. Evan. Mag., 1810, 161. 

51 Lawrence Butterworth, Bapt. minister at Evesham in 1772. Noakes, Wares. Sects, 
p. 172; Urwick, Noncon. in Worcester, 151. 

52 unidentified. 

53 unidentified. 

5* PJohn or Joshua Dickenson, minister at Gloucester 175 1-96. TRANS., v.218. Evans, p.94. 

5 Herbert Jenkins, d. 1772, aet. 51. Timpson, Ch. Hist, of Kent, p.337. 

5* Evan Jones, minister at Little Baddow 1764-80. Davids, p.354. 

s ? daughter of Edward Hickman, 1730-1781, minister at Hitchin, Kimbolton, St. Neots, 

Mitchell St., London, and Bicester. Wilson, iii, 458. 
5-63 unidentified. 
** Evan. Mag., 1797, 60. 

* 5 Francis Newton. Pitman, Memorials of the Cong. Ch. at Milborn Port; TRANS., v. 277 
** Henry Field, minister at Blandford 1760-1821. Densham & Ogle, pp. 34-37. 

47 Perhaps in errorfor David Evans, Bapt. minister at Biggleswade in 1772. TRANS., v. 206 

48 Richard Simpson. T. Whitehead, Dales Chs., p.96; J. G. Miall, Independency in Yorks., 

6_70 unidentified. 

71 William Northend, minister at Bridlington 1777- . d.1821. Evan. Mag., 1821, 453. 

72 John Sykes, minister at Guestwick & Briston 1776-1824. Browne, Hist, of Congm. in 
Norfolk & Suffolk, p.327; A. F. Thorpe, Guestwick-Briston (1953). 

73 Daniel Bocking, d. 1811. Davids, p.487; and Urwick, Noncon. in Herts, p.674. 

74 Thomas Curtis, minister at Linton 1765-83. Cong. Mag., 1819, 632. 

75 James Gayler, minister at Dedham 1776-82. Evan. Mag., 1834, 532. Davids, p. 384. 
74 John Drake, minister at Yardley Hastings 1725-1775 & at Olney 1735-1775. Evan. Mag., 

1799, 466; Garner, Hist, of Cong. Ch., Olney, pp.6f. 

77 James Panton, minister at Wimborne 1773-77/8. Densham & Ogle, p. 395. 

78 Giles Hobbs, minister at Lion Walk, Colchester, 1775-1808. 

79 William Cornell, minister at Rendham 1758-60. Browne, pp.456, 484. 

80 Joseph King, minister at Oundle 1712-20. Coleman, Mentis, of Indept. Chs. ofNorthants. 
pp.!68f., 257. 

Mrs. Jones s brother (Saml. King) once saved Dr. Gibbons from drowning when 
they were both students. 

81 Joseph Sills, minister at Henley, Oxon. 1718-39/40. Summers, Hist. Berks., S. Bucks, 
& S. Oxon. Cong. Chs., p.117. 

82 John Williams, minister at Sydenham 1767-95. D.N.B. 
es.ts unidentified. 

84 William Langford, minister at King s Weigh House 1742-75. Wilson, i. 183; iii. 68. 


Alexander James Grieve, M.A., D.D., 1874-1952. A Biographical Sketch. 
By Charles E. Surman, M.A. Lancashire Independent College. 6s. 

One would expect our Secretary to produce just such a workmanlike 
memoir of his revered father-in-law as this is, but how good to have so much 
of Dr. Grieve s inimitable flavour preserved for those who will not have known 
him : his pawky wit, his application of texts, and the rest, as well as his kindness 
and understanding. Nothing is more characteristic than his determination, 
recorded by Dr. Routley, to resipn from the Congregational Praise committee, 
if "And now, O Father, mindful of the love" were included. Mr. Surman has 
printed five of Dr. Grieve s addresses, one of them his Address as Chairman of 
the Congregational Union, in which, as our President, Dr. Grieve took care 
warmly to commend the Society. 



Members of the Long Parliament. By D. Brunton and D. H. Pennington, 
with an Introduction by R. H. Tawney. Allen and Unwin. 21s. 

This careful survey of the personnel of the House of Commons from 
November 1640 to April 1653 is factual rather than expository, and examines 
the " diversities, not only of opinion, but of social status, occupational interest, 
education, age and political experience " of the members. Read in con 
junction with J. S. Roskell s The Commons in the Parliament of. 1422, and 
Professor J. E. Neale s Elizabethan House of Commons as background, it 
provides material for a new approach to the divisions and entanglements 
occasioned by the Civil War and the social status of the Parliamentarians 
involved in it. The writers find in the original members a fairly representative 
cross-section of what may perhaps be termed the upper middle classes and 
minor landed gentry, with little to distinguish them when they divided into 
royalist and parliamentarian camps, except that the royalists were on average 
ten years younger, and the parliamentarians had greater parliamentary 
experience. The writers find little support for a Marxist theory of class-warfare 
such as has been advanced by Christopher Hill in The English Revolution, 1640, 
though this may have been more pronounced after 1653. 

" . . .of the men who went into Parliament . . . those who supported the 
King were not superficially different in their way of life, their status, and their 
family histories from whose who opposed him. On both sides there were 
merchants and lawyers; on both there were old landed families and new ones, 
families that prospered and families that failed." 

Those who read ecclesiastical history are apt to see in the life of England 
in the two decades 1640-1660 an undue concentration on religious differences 
and to overlook the economic factors an inference easily drawn from reading 
the Commons Journals of the period, which do indeed show innumerable 
and interminable debates in the House on church administration. This work 
makes a useful corrective and provides valuable details for both the economic 
and ecclesiastical historian. It will be interesting to try and trace the church 
divisions of the members listed in extenso in the Appendixes. 


At the suggestion of the Central Youth Council the Youth and Education 
Department of the Congregational Union asked Dr. R. S. Paul, the Rev. 
R. O. Latham and the Rev. H. Sellers to prepare a film-strip dealing with our 
history and our heritage. 

Our Congregational Churches (Black and White, 54 frames; 7s. 6d., 
including script) is a useful attempt to meet the needs of those who want to 
know more concerning our origins. The script seeks to give a brief sketch of 
the history of our Faith and Order, while the pictures provide useful visual 
illustrations of some of the outstanding events, places and people (e.g. John 
Owen, Isaac Watts and George Whitefield). Some users may find the type 
script notes too brief. 

So much ground is covered in this strip, that it might have been better 
to have omitted the notes and frames dealing with Churches in other lands 
another strip on the overseas extension of Congregationalism might well be 
useful. Not all the frames are of equal standard, but that is inevitable when old 
prints have to be included by the side of modern photographs. There is 
much useful material here for our churches. 


Our Contemporaries 

The infrequency of our own publication results in somewhat belated 
record of other journals received, for which we are sorry. We note, 
however, the following received by exchange : 

Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society of England, Vol. 5, 
No. 3, May 1954, in which are Dr. S. W. Carruthers annual lecture 
to the Society on " Conventicles and Conventiclers " and the second 
part of Mr. J. M. Ross " The Elizabethan Elder ". 

The Baptist Quarterly, Vol. 15, Nos. 1-6. No. 4 contains a tribute 
to the late Dr. T. R. Glover by Dr. M. E. Aubrey ; No. 5 articles on 
" The Old Minute Book of Bourne Baptist Church, 1702-1891 ", 
by the Rev. F. J. Mason, and " Baptists and the Laying on of Hands", 
by Dr. Ernest Payne. No. 6 (April 1954), has an article on " The 
Religious Beliefs of the Levellers ", by the Rev. D. M. Himbury. 

Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, Vol. 10, No. 3 
(October 1953), contains a " History of Christ Church (Unitarian), 
Brighton ". The editor allots generous space to reviews of several 
Congregational publications. 

Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, Vol. 29, Nos. 2-5. The 
last number (March 1954) has a useful article on " How to write a 
local history of Methodism" by the editor, which offers valuable 
advice to historians other than Methodist. 

Journal of the Friends Historical Society, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Autumn 
1953), has useful information on " Some Early Quaker Biographies ", 
by Mr. Owen Watkins, and " Joshua Sprigge on the Continent ", 
by Dr. Henry J. Cadbury. Separately printed, Supplement No. 25, 
by C. Marshall Taylor, deals with John Greenleaf Whittier, The 

Bulletin of the American Congregational Association, October 1953, 
and January 1954, the latter carrying a paper read before the recently- 
formed Congregational Christian Historical Society of America by 
the Rev. Verne D. Morey, on " Robert Browne and Congregational 
Beginnings : History Corrects Itself", with an Introduction by Dr. 
Douglas Horton, which seeks " definitively and finally " to " bow 
Robert Browne out of Congregationalism ". We cannot accept the 
writer s conclusions, which seem to us to rest on an expediency that 
tries to " read back " modern tendencies into a 17th century situation, 
rather than on a sound historical interpretation. 





A. R. BANTON, The Story of Horningsham Chapel, Wilts. 

A. D. BELDEN, George Whitefield The Awakener. (2nd edition, 

R. F. CALDER (ed.), To Introduce the Family. 

R. F. CALDER (ed.), Proceedings of 7th International Congregational 
Council, St. Andrews. 

N. CHARLTON, 750 Years of Witness: Immanuel Congregational Church, 

G. F. NUTTALL, The MS. of the Reliquiae Baxterianae. (Dr. Williams 
Library, Occasional Paper No. 1.) 

G. F. NUTTALL, James Nayler: Afresh approach. (Friends Historical 

K. L. PARRY (ed.), Handbook to Congregational Praise. 
W. GORDON ROBINSON, William Roby, 1766-1830. 

]. W. ASHLEY SMITH, Tfie Birth of Modern Education: The Contribution 

of the Dissenting Academies, 1660-1800. 
J. RONALD WILLIAMS, A History of Williams Memorial English 

Congregational Church, Penydarren, 1903-1953. 


DAVID GEDDES, St. Andrew s Presbyterian Church, Southampton, 
*8 53-1 953- Joined 1948 with the Above Bar Congregational Church. 

W. E. NORCROSS, Bank Top Congregational Sunday School, Blackburn, 

Remembering the Way: Brockley Congregational Church, 1854-1954. 

Hendon Congregational Church, 1854-1954. 

Tunstall Congregational Church, 1853-1953. 

Wattisfield Congregational Church, 1654-1954. 

Winchester Road Congregational Church, Southampton, 1932-1953. 

Surbiton Park Congregational Church, 1853-1953. 

Year Books of Wanstead Congregational Church (1953), Belgrave 
Congregational Church, Torquay (1953), Wylde Green Congre 
gational Church (1954). 










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THE 56th Annual Meeting of the Society was held at Westminster 
Chapel on 18th May, 1955, at 5.30 p.m. Thirty-six members 
and friends signed the attendance book. The paper by Mr. 
F. R. Salter, Warden of Madingley Hall, Cambridge, which is printed 
within, excited keen attention and interest. The independence of mind 
which is no less characteristic of him than of Edward Miall and his 
contemporaries cannot be hid, and the amount of research undertaken 
by him into works as unlikely to be lively source-material as ancient 
Year Books is perhaps more apparent to the reader than to the listener ; 
but the verve and pungency with which the address was delivered are 
inevitably less evident on the printed page. Many present were sur 
prised, some were perhaps even a little shocked, by the revelation of 
what our so recent fathers in the faith were like : were they really so 
bigoted and offensive? It is easy to forget how much the ecclesiastical 
situation has changed for the better, not only in the relations between 
Nonconformity and the Established Church but in the Christian 
character of that Church s clergy, especially in country districts. How 
far the inflammatory declamations of The Nonconformist may, in the 
long run, have contributed to this improvement, how far they were 
only an exacerbation, is disputable; but, if there is a time to keep 
silence, there is also a time to speak; and in England the 1840 s, like 
the 1540 s and the 1640 s, was one. 

When, after Dr. Peel s death, Mr. Matthews became the Society s 
President, he did so on the understanding that it should be for a term 
of five years only. This period has now elapsed, and at the Annual 
Meeting Mr. Matthews was therefore released, with sincere thanks for 
the honour he has done us. All our members, it is hoped, will have 
delighted themselves with his recent Mr. Pepys and Nonconformity. 
In his place, Dr. W. Gordon Robinson, the Principal of Lancashire 
College, Manchester, was elected President. This appointment, which 
Dr. Robinson s contributions to historical studies, in his William Roby 
as well as in our pages and elsewhere, make eminently suitable, would 
have given special pleasure to his predecessor both at Lancashire 
College and in his new office, Dr. Grieve. We were delighted to be in 
a position to make it during Dr. Robinson s year of office as Chairman 
of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, and were most 
grateful to him for finding time this May to be present at our meeting. 



We also released Mr. Surman from his temporary position as Treasurer 
few will know how much work has been needed in the special circum 
stances of the brief period during which he has held office and in his 
room elected Mr. Bernard Martin, the author of John Newton and 
many other books. Since our meeting, we have heard of the appoint 
ment of the Chairman of our Committee, the Rev. R. F. G. Calder, to 
succeed Dr. S. M. Berry as Secretary to the International Congrega 
tional Council. That one whose responsibilities will be so wide 
geographically will also have the breadth of a historical outlook is a 
cause for keen satisfaction. 

We regret the lateness in the appearance of this number, which is 
due in part to circumstances beyond the control of editor and printers. 
We regret also that our meagre finances do not permit of a larger issue. 
Not much can be said in 32 pages, and it is not easy to balance articles 
of interest to the majority of our members with the records, the publica 
tion and consequent preservation of which is one of the purposes for 
which the Society exists and for which no other means is easily avail 
able. Records are needed by those who write what is of more general 
interest and are of value to such a recent and welcome addition to our 
membership as the University Library at Tubingen. In the present 
number an attempt is made to satisfy all tastes, so far as our limited 
space permits. 

One condition which this sets is an abbreviated editorial. We there 
fore add two sentences only in place of paragraphs. All our members 
will rejoice that the Memorial Hall Trustees have at last found it 
possible to appoint a Librarian for the Congregational Library : the 
Rev. Alan Green is to hold the position from 1st July, 1956. Those 
appointed to consider the production of a bibliography of Noncon 
formity in connexion with the tercentenary of 1662 have met three 
times ; and initial lists of some hundreds of works published by both 
Conformists and Nonconformists between 1660 and 1665 have been 
circulated to a number of scholars and learned libraries. 

Congregationalism and the 
"Hungry Forties" 

MANY things, of course, happened in this decade besides social 
and economic distress. To make an almost random catalogue : 
Christmas cards came into general use and Newman was. 
received into the Catholic Church; the Y.M.C.A. was founded and 
the first operation was performed under chloroform; the Brownings 
made their romantic elopement and Vanity Fair was published. The 
decade also witnessed the most intelligent Conservative Government 
of the 19th century under the leadership of Peel who, disliked though 
he was by the Nonconformists, showed his intelligence by many 
valuable reforms, culminating in his own political suicide when he 
dared to do what the Whigs (for whom our forefathers were voting, 
if they had votes) had not dared to do, and repealed the Corn Laws in 
1846. The following year there was a General Election which in 
advance aroused great hopes to, but in the result was a great disappoint 
ment for, the Nonconformists; the year after that saw the Chartist 
fiasco on Kennington Common, while two years later Peel was killed 
in a riding accident ; finally, just outside our decade, came the Great 
Exhibition, an impressive demonstration, men thought, of national 
unity and prosperity. Besides this, there was mine and factory legis 
lation, tremendous railway expansion, the overhaul of our banking and 
tariff systems, the re-introduction of the Income Tax (at the alarming 
figure of 7d in the I ), the break-up of the Tory party, the practical 
death, through political anaemia, of the Whig party, a serious 
commercial crisis, a long industrial depression, and two international 
crises, one of which nearly brought us war with France and the other, 
still more nearly, war with the United States. However gloomy, 
however hungry, however dangerous, nobody could call the 1840s 
dull. What part, then, did the Congregational ists play in this decade? 

Three events of denominational interest happened in 1841. First, 
a great Anti-Corn-Law meeting of ministers was held in Manchester 
which was attended, among others, by 276 Congregationalists and 
182 Baptists. Second, the Annual Assembly at Nottingham passed a 
resolution declaring that Nonconformists were not political in their 
aims save inasmuch as the connection of the Established Church with 
the State was itself political ; they declared further that they venerated 
the Anglican Church as a true branch of the Reformation and held that 
Disestablishment would increase rather than diminish its effectiveness. 



But perhaps the most important event of the year from this angle was the 
appearance of the famous and fiery Edward Miall with his weekly paper, 
The Nonconformist, bearing the challenging title, taken from Burke, 
the Dissidence of Dissent and the Protestantism of the Protestant 
Religion . Truly a new prophet had arisen in Israel and a new note of 
urgency was being sounded in his trumpet-calls. For the first time, 
the denomination was being summoned to real political Nonconformity ; 
the Union might claim that it was not political, Miall most certainly 
was. His paper cost 6d a copy, and you got a lot for your money. It 
gave a full account of everything that was going on, from fatstock 
prices at Smithfield to the most recent examples of episcopal arrogance. 
There was much foreign news and even the advertisements are, to us, 
interesting as sources of social history. Its two main themes, which 
were developed at length in every issue, were the evils of an Established 
Church and the need for franchise extension along the lines of the 
Complete Suffrage Movement, of which it became the avowed and 
official organ. It was vigorous, it was well-written and it was 
violently prejudiced. Miall s outbursts aginst Anglicanism were so 
extreme that to us, who are emancipated from the tyranny of church- 
rates, burial scandals and the like, they must appear almost unseemly. 
"Heartless formality, a blind, unreasoning, ignorant, superstitious 
obedience to the priesthood, payment of tithes and Easter offerings 
and church-rates, these are the great objects of our Establishment. 
The whole thing is a stupendous money scheme, carried on under 
false pretences" 1 and so on. Any misdemeanour of an Anglican 
clergyman was at once seized upon and pilloried. Thus (to take head 
ings from the index) : a drunken clergyman, assault and trespass 
committed by a clergyman, a clergyman committed as a rogue and 
vagrant and for having obtained money on false pretences, a rat- 
catching parson, gluttonly parsons, an atrocious case of clerical 
depravity, a Buckinghamshire vicar convicted of habitual drunken 
ness and of assault and of stabbing a dog through its throat with a 
knife. In the one volume for 1844 there are seven such instances, and 
it would be charitable to Miall to suggest that he recorded them more 
in sorrow than in pleasure. But his readers evidently liked it and among 
his correspondents I am particularly intrigued by one, a follower of 
George Fox born out of his due time, who asked in what reign an Act 
had been passed making it obligatory for a man to take off his hat in a 
church ; he himself had of set purpose kept his on both in Bath Abbey 
and in St. Paul s Cathedral and had defied the vergers who had 
demanded its removal ! 

If one was looking for a single word which would illuminate the 
general attitude of Congregationalists to the issues of the day, it would, 

1 19 May, 1841. 


I think, be their own word, Voluntaryism : Voluntaryism in religion 
(no State Church), in education (no State system), in economic matters 
(no State interference). After all, our forebears were by history and 
tradition Independents, and these were the forms Independency was 
likely to take in the 1840s. 

As to Voluntaryism in religion, the objection in principle to an 
Established Church is too obvious to need elaboration ; it runs through 
all the Congregational thought of the time, although not all were 
agreed on actual policy; e.g. over the Anti-State-Church Association 
and the great Conference it held in 1844. For, as there was no chance 
of getting Disestablishment through Parliament, some of our more 
moderate leaders preferred to concentrate on such more immediate 
problems as Church Rates, Burials and Marriages, the Dissenters 
Chapels Bill and, above all, Education. In particular, a vigorous cam 
paign was carried on against Church Rates which, rather than 
Disestablishment, became the symbol of the survival of practical 
limitations to full religious liberty. Passive resisters had their goods 
distrained to a value out of all relationship to the rate they refused to 
pay and the most uncompromising stalwarts actually went to prison, 
in one instance for the non-payment of a rate of 5Jd. An increasing 
number of Vestries refused to vote the rate, all such refusals beiag 
joyfully recorded in the Nonconformist, and it has been estimated that 
by the end of the decade, for one reason or another, less than half the 
people liable were in fact paying it ; but for its abolition by Parliament 
we had to wait until 1868. The worst scandals, however, were in 
connection with Nonconformist burials, but as these have been fully 
dealt with by Bernard Manning I will not stop over them now. 1 

Voluntaryism in education centres round Graham s Factory Bill 
of 1843, the educational clauses of which were eventually withdrawn 
owing to the sustained opposition of the Nonconformists. The objec 
tions were that, if the education was purely secular, the State would 
be exceeding its proper function, while a State system with religion 
in it would merely play into the hands of the Anglicans ; in any case 
there would be a serious increase of bureaucracy, standardization etc. 
The opposition, as recorded in the contemporary journals, strikes me 
as being at its best doctrinaire and at its worst narrowly sectarian and 
suspicious, and I am not sure how wise our forebears were over all 
this. But they certainly raised a lot of money for their own voluntary 
schemes; their target was 100,000 in 5 years, and in 1848 it was 
announced that 130,000 had in fact been raised, a noteworthy achieve 
ment for a denomination of our size and comparative poverty. 

Voluntaryism in economic affairs meant a state of mind over 
whelmingly favourable to laisser-faire\ in particular, dislike of the 

1 cf. B. L. Manning, The Protestant Dissenting Deputies, pp. 299 eq. 


Corn Laws. It was certainly no part of the creed of our forefathers 
deliberately to withdraw from civic interests, and Blackburn in the 
Congregational Magazine, Vaughan in the British Quarterly and Price 
in the Eclectic Review all fill their columns with current affairs. For 
instance, in the 1846 issue of the Eclectic there are articles dealing with 
taxation, the new Poor Law, the prospects of Free Trade in France, 
pauperism and crime in Glasgow, and Australia and its future. The 
next year we have a review of the Railway Stockholders Manual (with 
full statistics of the interesting railway amalgamations); the "charac 
teristics of crime", with the account of a French experiment "houses 
not prisons"; arising out of a pamphlet on the Salt Trade of India, 
what remained of the East India Company s monopoly was attacked ; 
the economic crisis of 1 847 was discussed with special reference to the 
relation of the Government with the Bank of England, while there was 
an appreciative notice of a pamphlet with the intriguing title "Lunacy 
relieved by musical exercises"; and the wide range of its interests is 
shown in "the beneficial influence of botany and gardening on the 
middle classes in general and Nonconformist ministers in particular"! 

But these were topics of interest mainly to the middle classes, and 
Albert Peel has with justice reminded us that in these years (and he is 
speaking of the Annual Assemblies) "there is no indication of any 
resolutions dealing with the social questions that concerned the masses 
of the people". "First," he goes on, "the preaching of the Gospel; 
second, the securing of religious freedom on these the aims of the 
Independents were concentrated, and they had not yet felt the call 
to the struggle for the remedying of social ills." 3 But is this an entirely 
fair indictment? I think not. Almost all the leaders of the denomination 
were aware of the social problems, but oversimplified them seriously 
by attributing the prevalent distress either to personal shortcomings 
(especially intemperance) or to the Corn Laws (with the resulting high 
cost of living), and monopolies and artificial restraints in general. They 
disliked governmental interference in economic matters, even if it were 
to remove undoubted evils, and, perhaps, they thought (and this was a 
serious error) those evils were not as great as was sometimes alleged. 
Vaughan, for instance, in the very first issue of the British Quarterly 
had the impression that things were not really too bad in the factories ; 
a 12 hour day was excessive but an eleven hour day was reasonable, 
and even that reduction should be secured not by legislation but by 
peaceable and persuasive negotiations between the work-people and 
their employers. Even the radical Miall was against legislation; he 
mentioned, but did not comment on, the Act which forbade chimney- 
climbing by boys under 21 ; he disliked (in connection with the 
notorious Andover poor-law case) the evils which came from adminis- 

A. Peel, These Hundred Years, p. 107. 


trative centralization, and, in connection with the 10 Hours agitation, 
"we are convinced", he wrote, "that the factory hands are seeking a 
delusive remedy for the ills they endure". 4 What was needed was 
general Free Trade and constitutional reform. He, in common with 
all his brethren, deplored the more violent forms of Chartism but (as 
I have said) the Nonconformist became the avowed organ of that 
watered-down version known as the Complete Suffrage Movement, 
and it would be hard to say which figured more prominently in its 
columns, it or the doings of the Anti- State- Church Association. 

Apart from a modified sympathy with the ideals (though not the 
methods) of Chartism and a very strong sympathy with the Free Trade 
movement, it seems to have been temperance and better housing that 
interested our forebears. "Who," said the Congregational Magazine 
in 1841, "that visits the old, dilapidated, miserable houses of the poor 
in the metropolis and our other large towns but must wish that building 
materials were so reduced in price as to permit the erection of cheap 
and comfortable dwellings for the labouring classes, so necessary for 
their health, contentment and good morals? The proposed alteration 
in the duties on timber is one step towards this most desirable and 
necessary change." Yet even after the great tariff reductions and the 
repeal of the Corn Laws much distress remained. This was pointed 
out at the Annual Meeting of the Union in 1848 by a layman, Mr. 
Edward Swaine, who asked "whence the squalid poverty, the nauseous 
alley, the crowded dwelling, with their typhus and indecency? Whence 
even, we may ask, the intemperance and animal excess? Are they all, 
and all in such terrible amount, the direct result of unregenerate hearts? 
Are they not, rather, to a great extent the festering sores which 
legislative yokes have brought on the body politic?" I am not sure 
what he meant by "legislative yokes" unless it was the lingering effects 
of tariffs and restrictive taxation, not all of which had yet been abolished 
e.g. the taxes on bricks, stone, slates and tiles did not go until 1850), 
ut much of what he deplored was, surely, due to just the opposite, 
the absence of any parliamentary control of public health or of slum 
buildings. By reason, therefore, of this obsession with laisser-faire 
principles the Dissenters seem not to have concerned themselves much 
with the Mines and Factory legislation of the time. On the other hand 
(and this is perhaps a result of their essentially middle-class member 
ship) they were concerned with the long hours worked by shop assistants ; 
but here, too, it was hoped that change would come not through 
legislation but through the initiative of the employers. As early as 
1842 Miall was reporting sympathetically that "the proprietors of the 
numerous silkmercery establishments in Chelsea, Knightsbridge and 

* Nonconformist (1844), p.244. 

1 Congregational Year Book (1848), pp.91 seq. 


Pimlico have come to the determination of early closing of their shops 
throughout the winter". 6 And what was early closing? 8 p.m. ! The 
blame, according to the Christian Witness, attached to Society (with a 
big S, especially the preparations for the London Season), "and we 
would remind the public of the special claims of those shops that have 
adopted short hours. These have a prior claim, and in this matter a 
most weighty responsibility attaches to the ladies of London. We 
should like to be furnished with an accurate list of all the principal 
shops that have shortened their hours that we may publish it." 7 

Congregationalists were also interested in Provident and Friendly 
Societies. But it was noticed with regret that in general they held their 
meetings in public houses ; this was true of 46 of the 58 Societies in the 
City and of 311 out of 346 in Middlesex. Per contra, the Christian 
Witness had a lyrical appreciation of Leigh Richmond s Friendly 
Society at Turvey, the meetings of which were held in the Church 
vestry. The annual meeting was in Whit -week, when the blue staves 
of the members were ranged along the walls like halberds in an armoury, 
while from the ceiling hung great triangles bearing such encouraging, 
though familiar, words as Faith, Hope and Charity, or, less scripturally, 
Unity, Patience and Mutual Support. The room was wreathed with 
flowers sent from the gardens of the neighbouring gentry and on one 
occasion the high-light of the proceedings was the handing round of a 
lock of Napoleon s hair ! (This was when the Senior Chaplain of St. 
Helena was present and gave an address.) This article gave rise to 
considerable correspondence in which, naturally enough, attention 
was drawn to the Rechabites as a Friendly Society based on temperance, 
and also to various Societies founded in connection with Dissenting 
Chapels. Of such was that at East Grinstead, where the annual meeting 
began at 4, passed from business to a tea (8d a head with plumcake) 
and ended with a sermon in chapel, after which, at 8 o clock, "we 
separate and quietly return to our homes", an implied contrast no 
doubt with the roisterous homeward journey of those whose Societies 
had met in taverns ! So important did this topic appear to the 
denomination that a special sub-committee was set up and, as a result, 
a Society of our own, the Christian Mutual Provident Society, started 
operations (under the most hopeful auspices, we are told) in 1847." 

Provident Societies and shorter hours for shop assistants must seem 
"small beer" when set against the grave social evils revealed by the 
Royal Commissions of the period. I believe, however, that our fore 
fathers tended on the one hand to underestimate those evils and on the 

* Nonconformist, 19 October, 1842. 

7 Christian Witness (1844), pp.407, 449, 497. 

* Christian Witness (1845), pp. 110 seq., 523. 

* Congregational Year Book (1847), p. 7. 


other (as was perhaps natural to Independents with their strong sense 
of personal responsibility) to exaggerate the opportunities which would 
exist for an energetic and temperate individual, were only artificial 
restraints (such as the Corn Laws) removed. What surprises me is that 
they seem to have shown so little interest in such obvious forms of 
self-help as Savings Banks and the Co-operative movement. 

But if our forebears were chary about official intervention in social 
affairs they were not (I fancy) chary about opening their own purses in 
the cause of philanthropy. I say "I fancy" because evidence here is of 
necessity slight and tantalizingly hard to come by, but we know that 
in 1846/7 the Congregational Union, as a body, sent no less than 
13,000 for the relief of Ireland "in this year of famine". And, of 
course, for the relief of distress nearer home charity was not lacking; 
for instance, the Philip Street Chapel in Dalston started as early as 
1841 a Sick Visiting Society whose Annual Reports I have been allowed 
to see through the courtesy of the Rev. E. W. Dawe. These Reports 
leave us in no doubt about the prevalent distress. "When we cast our 
eyes around," says that of Michaelmas 1842, "and behold on every 
hand the footsteps of poverty and misery of the most appalling and 
distressing description, can it be wondered at that sickness and disease 
should be the result?" For this, various reasons are given but "by far 
the majority of cases unhappily arise through intemperance"; even 
when that is not the case an illness of the breadwinner is bound to 
bring distress, to say nothing of those who are brought to want through 
age and infirmity. The Workhouse of course existed, more unpopular 
at that time than ever before or since, but, needless to say, there was no 
system of Sickness or Employment Insurance, and even the experi 
mental and ineffective Board of Health was as yet six years in the future. 
In later Reports, vivid instances are given of individual distress and of 
the value of the help and the spiritual comfort given, for, naturally 
enough, the visitors considered themselves also to be Evangelists. 
Some hundred or more visits were paid annually and the amount 
distributed in relief (after careful enquiry, to avoid imposture) was 
some 10 or 12 a year not a great amount, but the value of money 
was of course far greater then than now and the Chapel was situated 
in a poor part of London where the members of the Congregation 
cannot themselves have been people of any considerable substance. 
Slight though our evidence is, I feel confident that the private philan 
thropy of our forefathers was of real importance during this most 
difficult decade. 

For denominational history, the Year Books, which begin in 1845, 
are of course invaluable, especially for the Reports of the various 
Committees. From them, for instance, we learn with regret that the 
scholarly productions of the Wycliffe Society were far less successful 


than the hymnbooks, which had a wide sale, or the periodicals which, 
not counting the Nonconformist, the Eclectic and the Congregational 
Magazine, had a total circulation of not less than 300,000 copies a 
year. The Year Books contain also interesting obituary notices 
(familiar of course to Mr. Surman but probably to nobody else ! ), 
some of which are almost naively candid; e.g. that of the Rev. W. 
Everett, for 35 years Minister at Whittlesea : "a very good man and 
by no means deficient in intellectual power but peculiar and so secluded 
in his manners as to be unattractive"; not much de mortuis nil nisi 
bonum about this ! In 1847 there is an interesting paper on Ecclesias 
tical Architecture as applied to Nonconformist chapels ; "the improve 
ment in public taste which has been seen in our national edifices and 
private habitations during the last 25 years has at length reached the 
Meeting Houses of Nonconformists". Can we today feel that this 
optimism was justified? It is interesting to note that these new chapels, 
of which there were some 600 in the 1840s, usually cost between 
2,000 and 3,000, while more ambitious ones were 6,000 or more 
(that at Wolverhampton, put up in 1849, cost 6,500); on the other 
hand, the village chapel at Rainham, Kent, cost only 260. West 
minster Chapel, the present scene of our Annual Assemblies, was during 
this period, in 1842, erected especially for that famous pastor, the Rev. 
Samuel Martin. 

Two final points occur to me, more important perhaps than the 
social and economic issues I have been dealing with, but too big for 
me to do more than raise now. How, in general, stood it in the 40s 
with the Union as a Union, and with the Denomination as a Denomi 
nation? The Annual Meeting of 1845 found reason to deplore some 
degree of lack of unity of spirit, temper and outlook, and clearly, as 
Albert Peel has put it, "the ship had been over-loaded". This was 
not entirely surprising; after all, the Union was then barely twelve 
years old, and its stability was inevitably somewhat precarious. There 
were inside it differences of policy and temperament, centring largely 
round such controversial figures as Price, Miall, Vaughan and Camp 
bell; even the admirable Dr. Pye Smith was frequently assailed 
because he was willing to take part in the distribution of the Regium 
Donum, the fund for whose abolition most Congregationalists were 
then pressing, as being alien to their strong views about the evil of all 
State endowments of religion. Clearly, things were not easy and were 
going to become more difficult, the Union, in the years after 1847, being, 
as Peel has said, "almost wrecked". 

Was, then, the French historian Halevy right when he said that 
round about 1845 there came a check to the development of Non 
conformity? How true was this of our Denomination? It was, I think, 
the Baptists who were most worried over this, but they thought that 


all the denominations, including the Evangelical Anglicans, were 
affected. With us, the Rev. J. A. Jones read to the Annual Meeting in 
1845 a paper on The State of Religion in the Congregational Churches , 
and this was considered so important that a special Committee was set 
up to consider it; this reported that, though there had been some 
welcome advances, there had also been some regrettable decline, the 
main reasons for which they thought to be migrations of population 
and, more seriously, a lack either of vocation or of education in many 
of our ministers. Migration of population clearly raised difficulties and 
it was to meet this that (as I have said) over 600 chapels were built 
in the course of the decade. The lack of a proper sense of vocation is 
something we cannot now hope to estimate, but educational deficien 
cies, though serious, were to some extent in the process of remedying 
themselves. Dr. Pye-Smith read to a Conference of Training Colleges 
a paper explaining the value of the examinations conducted by London 
University, which was just getting into its stride, and the Year Book 
of 1849 gave the figures of those of our ministers who had graduated 
there; there were, it appeared, 9 M.A.s, 2 LL.B.s, and 9 B.A.s; two 
were Fellows of University College and another had been a Gold 
Medallist; further, 62 students in our Theological Colleges had 
matriculated but had not yet taken their Degrees. Quite a few ministers 
had Scottish Degrees and at least three were from Trinity College, 
Dublin. There were also, very occasionally, "converts", if I may so 
call them, from Oxford and Cambridge, such as the Rev. J. Bridgman, 
a Cambridge man, who was in 1841 pastor at West Street Chapel, 
Walworth, and another Cambridge man, J. F. Poulter of Queens , who 
in 1846 began his 23 years pastorate at Wellingborough, and lived on 
until 1910. But of the state of learning and education in the Ministry 
as a whole I am not competent to speak. 

What, I think, worried our forebears more than numbers was the 
fact that we were so essentially middle-class. Binney, indeed, seemed 
almost to find it a matter of congratulation: "our mission", he said, 
"is neither to the very rich nor to the very poor . . . but to the influen 
tial classes who fill neither Courts nor cottages". 10 But the denomination 
as a whole was not so complacent and the Annual Meeting of 1848 
had as its special theme the alienation of the working classes; "for 
why", said Wells, "do we build chapels to gather congregations of 
tradesmen, but never of artificers?" Yet it was not apathy or hostility 
to Dissent alone that was being deplored but towards all organized 
Christianity. And therefore Halevy s assertion of a check applies to 
all denominations and not only perhaps not mainly to ours. 

But in the absence of proper statistics we cannot be sure about all 
this; indeed, they were not sure themselves and even the census of 

" Congregational Year Book (1848), p. 9. 


church attendances in 1851 left the whole of religious England in a 
state of perplexity as to its real meaning. When the Baptists in 1845 
raised the question of a slowing down of development they twitted us, 
amiably enough, with not knowing how we stood because we, unlike 
them, had no statistics 1 ; and in the following year Blackburn compared 
us unfavourably in this respect with them, and indeed with our own 
North Buckinghamshire Association which had been keeping full 
records for the past twenty years. And it is on this note about the 
insufficiency of historical material that I will end. "Every church", 
Blackburn had said, "should look to itself and take heed that its spiritual, 
financial, educational and historical statistics are regularly preserved." 12 
Has this in point of fact been done, and are the records easily available 
for those who would like to see them? And when in our own time 
Albert Peel regretted that "Congregationalism for some strange reason 
has never given its history a proper place," 13 he was only repeating, a 
hundred years later, Blackburn s protest "we are a people who have a 
history, but we neglect our documents". Herein, therefore, lies the 
importance of such a Society as this. 


1 Baptist Record (1 846), p. 1 . 

11 Congregational Year Book, (1846), p. 66. 

" These Hundred Years, p. 122. 

Squire Baker of Wattisfield 

READERS of John Browne s History of Congregationalism 
in Norfolk and Suffolk (1877) one of the most rewarding of 
our county histories may remember his brief account 
(pp. 468-471) of Squire Baker of Wattisfield, Suffolk, to whom the 
Wattisfield church in its earliest days owed so much. Samuel Baker, 
Browne tells us, was born about 1644 at Wrentham and was educated 
at Beccles Grammar School and Cambridge University. He was at 
first a member of the Congregational church at Denton, Norfolk, but 
in 1678 transferred to the church at Wattisfield, where he was Lord of 
the Manor and lived at the Hall. Of his public life little is known, 
save that he narrowly escaped representing Bury St. Edmunds as 
Member of Parliament in 1688; but until his death in 1700 both he 
and his wife were the great support and ornament of the Congre 
gational Church at Wattisfield . 

This church celebrated its tercentenary in 1954 and some account 
of its history was printed then, as well as a few years earlier. Its most 
notable minister was Thomas Harmer, who went there in 1734, aged 
19, and long before his death there in 1788 had become the leading 
Congregational minister in Suffolk: throughout those fifty-four years 
he was a careful student and recorder of the life of the churches, and 
his writings, both published and manuscript, proved of the greatest 
service to John Browne. As a mark of respect to one of our oldest 
village churches, and as a salute across the years to Thomas Harmer, 
we are glad to fill out the story of the church s beginnings with some 
account of its debt to Squire Baker. The story is put together largely 
from the early pages of the Wattisfield church book, by the kindness 
of the present pastor, C. W. Clarke. 

Although the church at first sat down in the Fellowship of the 
Gospel after the Congregational Way on 14 September 1 1654, its 
members were then few in number and without a Pastor , and it 
travelled (for above 23 years) through many Difficulties . It Began 
to revive and flourish under the Ministry of Mr. Thomas Benton* 
in about 1671. In Calamy Revised Mr. Matthews identifies this 
Thomas Benton with the ejected Rector of Stratton St. Michael, 
Norfolk, who was buried at Stratton in 1690; but since, according to 
a note by Harmer in the Wattisfield church book, the Wattisfield 
parish register records the burial of a Thomas Benton on 22 August, 

seventh month in the church book : I have modernized dating, filled out abbreviation* 
and brought down superior letters throughout. 



1675, he is perhaps more likely to have been the Stratton Rector s 
father, also a Thomas, who had been ejected from Pulham St. Mary, 
Norfolk, and who is known to have been Congregational. Whichever 
he was, father or son, Benton took out a licence for Congregational 
worship at Wattisfield in 1672; and at the same time a licence was 
issued for the house of Samuel Baker. Six years later the church had 
a Second Sitting down and renewed its Foundation Covenant ; and 
on 2 May 1678, Edmund Whincop, the ejected Curate of Leiston, 
Suffolk, was solemnly set apart as its pastor, the ministers of the 
churches at Woodbridge, Sudbury and Bury St. Edmunds and two 
messengers from the church at Denton being present consenting and 
assisting at the doing thereof. Even then the membership consisted 
only of nine Bretheren , including the pastor, and twelve Sisters , 
including the pastor s wife: two of the men were all that remained 
of the Foundation ; nor were Squire Baker or any of his family 
members as yet. 

In the following month, however, Mr. Thomas Elston was admitted 
a member of this Church* ; and he, as Harmer notes, was Mr. Baker s 
Chaplain . In October 1678, moreover, Mr. Samuel Baker having 
obtained a Letter of Dismission from the Church of Christ at Denton 
where he was a member now joyned with this Church and was thereupon 
admitted a member accordingly . A copy of this letter is to be found 
at the back of the Wattisfield church book, and reads thus: 

To the Church of Christ at Watesfield in Suff. 
The Church of Christ at Denton Sendeth Greeting 
Dear Brethren 

Haveing lately received a Letter from our Honoured and 
dear Brother in Christ Mr. Samuel Baker in which He desires his 
Dismission from us in order to Church Communion with you with 
the Reasons thereof. After serious consideration of so weighty a 
Concerne, wee are agreed, and doe hereby declare our Compliance 
with our Worthy Brother therein. Wee need not to write any 
thing by way of Commendation, especially to you, his praise is in 
the Churches. Our great Loss will be (by Gods Blessing) wee 
doubt not your great gain, in which we shall rejoyce. His joyning 
with you shall be his discharge and Dismission from us. The God 
of peace be with you all Amen. 

The 16th day Subscribed in the Name 

of ye 8th moneth and by the appointment 

of the Church 

William Bidbanck. 

On 12 September 1679, Eliezer the son of Samuel Baker was 
babtized ; and on 9 December 1681, Mrs. Honoria Thompson and 
Mrs. Anna Baker the Wife of Mr. Baker by vertue of a Letter of Dis- 


mission obtained from ye Church in London whereof they had been 
many years Members Joyned themselves Members with this Church 
of Christ for their better Edification and to serve ye Interest of Christ 
therein . Mrs. Thompson, who, it appears from Browne s account, 
was Mrs. Baker s sister-in-law, had already, in October 1678, given 
to the Church as a token of her great affection and respect two large 
Silver Beakers with her Arms thereon to continue for the Use of the 
Church at the Lords Table : beakers which the church still treasures. 
The Letter of Dismission For Mrs. H T and Mrs. A: B Sent from 
London November ye 10th 1681 Signed in ye Name and by ye appoint 
ment of ye Whole Church by us Geo: Cokain and thirteen other 
persons, all men, addressed not to the church at Wattisfield but to the 
two women concerned, has also been copied at the back of the Wattis 
field church book. 

The baptisms of Samuel Baker s younger children continue to be 
recorded: Robert, born on 27 October 1682, was babtized* on 1 
December 1682 and John in October 1684. Meanwhile his elder 
children were being welcomed into membership. On 26 December 
1682, Honoria the Daughter of Samuel Baker was admitted a Member 
of this Church of Christ, when she was not full 14 years old yet with 
great satisfaction of the whole Church ; on 17 December 1686, Mr. 
Samuel Baker jun. was admitted a Member of this Church of Christ 
being 19 years of age ; and on 22 July 1687, Elizabeth Baker one of 
the Daughters of Mr. Samuel Baker having been propounded to ye 
Church by the Pastor in his life time was now admitted a member of 
this Church of Christ . 

The form of this entry was occasioned by the death of Edmund 
Whincop earlier in the month : he had died on 10 July 1687, being 
Lord s day , and Harmer notes that his burial on 12 July is recorded 
in the Wattisfield parish register. In its bereavement the church was 
thankful to be able to look to Squire Baker for help. Yet is the Care 
and Kindnes of God to this Church remarkable , we read in the lament 
over Whincop s death, in providing one of ourselves Mr. Moor to 
succeed in Preaching work and thereby serve the large opportunity 
occasioned by the present liberty to general satisfaction and as may be 
hoped to great advantage ; and Moor, as Harmer notes, was Mr. 
Baker s Chaplain, and Tutor to his Children . For Elston had left 
Wattisfield : in November 1684 Mr. Thomas Elston had his Dis 
mission to the Church at Toplif [Topcliffe] in Yorkshire in order to 
office work being thereunto Called by that Church after he had lived 
in the Communion of this Church about 7 years and was a great bless 
ing thereunto as a member and assistant therein as also to the Family 
of Mr. Baker wherein he lived 8 years to his and their great satisfaction 
and mutual spiritual edification and comfort, all which rendered the 


parting with him a loss much lamented, yet in obedience to a Call unto 
greater work was Complied withall . In Elston s place at the Hall 
had come John Moor, who was admitted a Member of this Church 
of Christ on 10 September 1686; and in January 1687 the following 
entry was made in the church book : 

Forasmuch as Mr. Moor a Brother of this Church hath declared 
unto us how his Spirit hath been inclined unto the work of the 
Ministry and that he purposeth upon the Churches approbation 
to give up himself thereunto, Wee being also satisfied that he is 
already in a good measure fitted by ye Holy ghost with Gifts and 
Graces suiting such an Undertaking, His Conversation likewise 
being as becomes ye Gospel, We the Pastor and Bretheren of this 
Church of Christ at his request upon serious Consideration of the 
matter after seeking of God Do declare that we judg the said Mr. 
Moor to be called of God to improve his Talent in Preaching ye 
Gospell and do approve of his so doing as the Providence of God 
shal give him opportunity and Call thereto, Praying God the 
Father of lights to afford him assistance and success with a daily 
encrease of Gifts and grace for his furtherance in the work to the 
glory of God and good of Soules. 

For some years the church seems to have been content to have the 
services of John Moor, and to have dispensed with any pastoral relation 
ship. But in 1694 Moor removed from Watesfield, as Harmer notes, 
becoming the Tutor of a Considerable Academy in the West of 
England at Tiverton. His successor as tutor at the Hall was Thomas 
Wickes, \vho was admitted a Member of this Church of Christ on 
26 September 1694; and unlike Moor, Wickes accepted the pastoral 
oversight of the church. On 30 June 1696 he was set apart to office 
work , the ministers of the churches at Sudbury, Tunstead, Ipswich 
and Woodbridge being present and assisting as elders . A new list of 
the church s members was now drawn up : the number of the men 
had increased to 20, of the women to 44; the men s names are headed 
by Sam. Baker and the women s by Mrs. Baker , followed by Mrs. 
Wall . This was their daughter Elizabeth, now married, as appears 
from Harmer s note on her Dismission to the Church of Christ at 
Hartford under the Pastorall care of Mr. William Haworth on 18 
March 1699/1700. In 1696 their daughter Honoria was already married 
and gone away : as Mrs. Caley, with her habitation fixed by Providence 
in Ipswich , she had received on 5 February 1689, a Letter of Dis 
mission to joyn with the Church there, whereof Mr. Langston is Pastor, 
to walk in fellowship there, as that was judged most agreeable to rule 
and conducing to her edification though it were to our loss . The name 
of Mrs. Honoria Thompson, the aunt after whom no doubt she was 
named, is also missing from among the members, for on 2 April 1685 


she had died, one of the Honourable Women of this age ... a Mother 
in Israel untill she died being aged 68 years . More sadly, because so 
prematurely, death had also removed one on whom many hopes 
reposed : 

1687. 10th Month 10th day died Mr. Samuel Baker the Eldest 
Son of Mr. Baker when he was 20 years and 4 Months of age and 
had been joyned a Member of this Church one year into a week, 
all which time, as before, he had shewed, in a good Conversation, 
Gravity and Humility beyond his years and given great Hopes of 
his being a blessing to his Family and the Church of God and 
eminent Instrument for good in his Generation, on which accounts 
his Death was much lamented and especially as a loss to this 
Church and Place, where it was hoped he should succeed in his 
Fathers room and stead. 

It was not only Squire Baker s children, however, who became 
members of the church ; his family in the larger sense, his servants, 
also supported it. There was Elizabeth Elsegood, who joined the church 
in September 1678, and on whose death on 13 June 1682 the church 
book records that she had been for some years a Member of this Church 
and had lived about 8 years a good and faithful Servant in Mr. Bakers 
family. In the latter part of which time she gained much Spiritual 
Improvement in Knowledge and Experience, especially by reading and 
Converse with her Mistris Thompson, so as her Faith did grow 
exceedingly, and she finished her Course with Joy when near 34 years 
of age . Or there was Simon Fynn, a Servant in Mr. Bakers Family , 
who was admitted a Member of this Church on the same day in 1682 
as the Squire s daughter, Honoria; on 12 January 1714/15 he was set 
apart to the office of a Deacon , and he was still one of the Deacons 
of this Church when he died on 9 November 1719. Again, on 29 June 
1683 Abigail Thorisby, a Servant in Mr. Bakers Family, was admitted 
a Member of this Church ; and on 30 December 1685 was babtized 
Abigail the Daughter of Simon Fyn and Abigail his wife both Members 
of this Church . What could be more fitting than a wedding within so 
fine a family ? 

Bare records ! Yet what a pleasing picture they present, with a little 
imagination, of the Squire and his wife and children, their tutors and the 
family servants, all united in worship and Christian fellowship. The 
Squire himself died on 11 April 1700. He was buried at his birthplace, 
Wrentham, and the Wattisfield church book carries only a simple entry 
of his death, though Harmer has added a note that the minister of the 
church at Sudbury, Samuel Petto, preached his funeral sermon on 
30 April from Job xix.26. The Squire s widow survived him till 1714, 
when she died on 2 November, aged 72 ; she also was buried at 


Wrcntham. Their son Robert, whose baptism in 1682 we noted above, 
seems to have returned to the Church of England : dyed November 
29. 713* stands bleakly against the entry of his baptism, and mural 
inscriptions to the memory of two of his married daughters, Elizabeth 
Moody and Anna Robina Tompson, are in the Wattisfield parish 

Samuel Baker s influence on Wattisfield Congregationalism was not 
spent, however; for the minister, Thomas Wickes, married the Squire s 
eldest daughter; and, although, according to Browne, she lived only a 
twelvemonth after , Wickes remained at Wattisfield till his death on 
1 July 1733, being Lord s day , aged 66. Even that is not really the 
end of the story; for a daughter of Edmund Whincop, the church s 
first pastor, during whose ministry Samuel Baker transferred his 
membership from Denton, married a John Hurrion, who in 1672 had 
his house at Sibton, near Yoxford, in Suffolk, licensed for Congre 
gational worship; and their son, John Hurrion secundus, married yet 
another of the Squire s daughters, Jane, and in 1701, the year after the 
Squire s death, became the minister at Denton. He had two sons, 
John tertius, ordained at Gosport, Hampshire, in 1732, and Samuel, 
ordained at Guestwick, Norfolk, in 1733; and Samuel s son, John 
quartus, was ordained at Southwold in 1761. Only with his death in 
1793, if then, does the story of Squire Baker of Wattisfield and his 
contribution to the Congregationalism of East Anglia come to a full 


Congregationalism in 

Madagascar in the last 

hundred years 

TO define accurately the ecclesiastical polity obtaining in the 
London Missionary Society churches in Madagascar is no easy 
task. French Calvinists who observed these churches at the 
beginning of this century were disturbed by the signs of Independency 
which they found there. They naturally judged the situation in terms 
of the prevailing political and social atmosphere, and were concerned 
lest the French colonial authorities should regard the L.M.S. churches 
as possible centres of sedition. A Congregational visitor of the period, 
on the other hand, could not have failed to note the existence and power 
of church courts which would remind him of the Presbyterian form 
of church government. At no time have these churches enjoyed the 
authority and independence still to be seen in present-day Congre 
gational churches in England and Wales. 

The contribution of Congregational principles to the organization 
of the L.M.S. churches in Madagascar will be most easily appreciated 
if we describe the different church courts to be found in the present 
ecclesiastical pattern, none of which is of recent origin. 

The vital church court found throughout the L.M.S. districts is the 
Isan-efa-bolana (i.e. the four-monthly meeting). This has responsi 
bility for all the churches within its boundaries, the number of which 
ranges from fourteen to more than sixty. The oversight of vacant 
churches by the appointment of a ministerial delegate, the conduct of 
the election of a pastor or deacons, the settlement of church disputes 
are all matters within the competence of the I.E.B. The churches are 
free to call their own pastors, but before the election in the church 
meeting can proceed a satisfactory certificate concerning previous 
pastoral charge must be furnished, and this is issued by the officers 
of the I.E.B. and is examined by them prior to an election. Serious 
issues such as the infringement of district rules concerning the practice 
of famadihana (corpse-turning) or the use of drama are open to investi 
gation by the I.E.B., and the decision of the full committee is binding 
on the local church. Membership of this committee is usually based 
on the ratio of one minister to two deacons. 

Within the I.E.B. there is a smaller grouping of churches termed 
the Lohavolana (i.e. "the head of the month," because its meetings are 




held on the first Monday of each month). This has often been little 
more than an opportunity for developing a local fellowship ; but in 
some districts in Imerina it has dealt effectively with matters of 
organization affecting the churches and thus prevented local disputes 
from becoming the source of more serious trouble in the I.E.B. At a 
time when missionary oversight of the Imerina districts is decreasing, 
in fulfilment of the policy of devolution, the Lohavolana is likely to 
become very much more important. It is, in any case, apparent that, 
while the local church may not hold as independent a position in 
Madagascar as in this country, the local grouping of churches is felt 
to be more significant than the vast grouping encountered in the higher 

This we meet when we come to the Isan-kerin-taona (i.e. the twelve- 
monthly meeting), which is the authoritative court controlling many 
local I.E.B.s. The I.K.T. corresponds to a geographical division .of 
the country : the L.M.S. thus has six I.K.T.s, iiz. Imerina, Betsileo, 
Antsihanaka, Marofotsy, Tsimihety and Tanala. Considerable 
authority is vested in this superior court. All churches grouped within 
its boundaries are assessed financially and pay considerable sums of 
money to support institutions such as the theological colleges, mission 
schools and inter-missionary work. They may also support evangelists 
working in the weaker areas of the I.K.T. There are times when 
financial demands are presented in such a way as to differ little from 
taxation ; and when the burden is so heavy it is difficult to preserve the 
conception of voluntary giving. At the same time, any Congregation- 
alist is bound to admire the spirit in which the Connexional system has 
coped with the problem of a vast financial undertaking in an under 
developed territory. The Imerina I.K.T. budget this year amounts 
to some 4,000,000 francs (approximately 4,000), not counting a 
further 1,000,000 francs to help the L.M.S. in its present financial 

The I.K.T., however, is not only involved in major financial con 
cerns. It is the body which deals with the wider church issues such 
as the control and oversight of mission schools, the pensions of pastors 
and teachers with their widows and orphans, and the discussions 
concerning Church Union. All these matters are eagerly and noisily 
debated in the full meetings held twice a year which comprise five 
hundred members or more. Madagascar is not the only country in 
which it is difficult to see how synodal meetings can be effective and 
capable of dealing with a long agenda and yet remain representative. 
The I.K.T. does elect commissions to deal with various matters con 
cerning the schools and colleges, but any major decision adopted by a 
commission must come back to the full committee. At the same time, 
there \? ample evidence that the pastors and deacons of the L.M.S. 



churches regard the authority of the I.K.T. as arising from the local 
church and not as something imposed by a higher court. The recent 
establishment * of an L.M.S. General Synod, consisting of all six 
I.K.T.s, to be in theory the ultimate authoritative court, has been the 
object of considerable criticism ; and at present the constitution of 
the General Synod includes a clause to the effect that, where there is 
considerable difference of opinion over any major issue, it must be sent 
back to the several I.K.T.s for further discussion. However strange 
and even perverted the Malagasy adoption of certain Congregational 
principles may be, the writer is persuaded that here the Malagasy 
church leaders have discovered something of the Congregational 
understanding of the nature of spiritual authority. 

Historically, the Congregational emphasis on the local church meeting 
and suspicion of hierarchical authority tended to fit in well with the 
social system of the former Malagasy kingdom, which was finally 
dissolved by the French in 1895 ; for in that kingdom there was 
always a real recognition of the value of the Fokonolona (which we may 
conveniently term "the parish council"). However strong the tendency 
to centralization may have been as the power of the Merina kingdom 
grew, this local social and political authority was never obliterated ; 
indeed, the French government has recently re-established it under 
the title of Collectivites Rurales Autochtones. When, after the conversion 
of Queen Ranavalona II and the burning of the idols in 1868, the L.M.S. 
churches in Imerina found themselves state-established, it was the 
families of the Andriana or prince-caste, with their dependants, who 
became Christians ; these families exercised wide powers in the 
controlling of local affairs, and there can be little doubt that many 
Malagasy regarded the church meeting as an extension of the 
Fokon olona and thus found the Congregational form of church 
government congenial. To-day we are bound to say that they found 
it too congenial. There was little, if any, recognition that Jesus is the 
only Lord and Master in a church meeting. Yet under the guidance 
of the district missionary the L.M.S. churches were able to cleanse 
the church meeting from, what was unwholesome in the traditions of 
the earlier social pattern, while what was of value was strengthened 
for the edifying of Christ s Church. I do not think biblical exegesis 
is too strained if we suggest that this was done in conformity with the 
words of the Apostle Paul, "and through him to reconcile to himself 
all things" (Col. i. 20). 

It is possible that this earlier emphasis on the local church and groups 
of churches may have caused difficulties when the L.M.S. churches 
in Imerina came to be grouped together in their vast I.K.T. of over 
four hundred churches. The disputes which have arisen from time to 



time, and which have caused several churches to become tsy miankina 
(i.e. independent in the sense of dissident), do not seem on any occasion 
to have resulted from deep principles conscientiously held. They are, 
in the main, unpleasant, tragic and not seldom sordid stories of struggles 
for power among the princely families. It is nevertheless true that on 
some occasions the centralizing of authority in the I.E.B. and the I.K.T. 
has not helped in the settlement of such disputes. 

The present writer has just completed his first period of service 
in Madagascar. That period is clearly far too short for him to be able 
to come to grips with all the complexities of the situation, let alone 
to pronounce judgement on the place of Congregationalism in the 
Malagasy church. He finds himself troubled, none the less, by certain 
passages in the correspondence from missionaries working in 
Madagascar to be found in Dr. Norman Goodall s Congregationalism 
Plus (p. 25). "Whilst accepting for myself the high ideals of the 
gathered church, which are still guarded in the present polity of the 
Malagasy Church," writes one, "I am convinced that the Congre 
gational polity in its entirety is not suitable for any of the younger 
churches ; its high churchmanship is too ideal for present practice." 
"Pure Congregationalism," writes another, "would be foreign to 
Malagasy psychology." To this it is fair to reply that Congregational 
ism has not been applied and found wanting, it simply has not been 
applied. Naturally, no loyal servant of the L.M.S. will plan to plant 
"pure Congregationalism" in any "younger church." It may, however, 
be asked whether the Malagasy Christians may not reasonably discover 
those truths in the Congregational polity which are applicable to the 
local situation. May it not even be that the Malagasy may apply some 
of our cherished principles more wisely than has been done by the 
churches at home ? The tone of implied superiority which one senses 
in the passages quoted above seems unwarranted to one who knows 
something of the struggles of ministers and discerning church members 
to bring the church meeting to life in this country. 

The question of the Congregational contribution to the Malagasy 
church is, moreover, no mere academic question. At this very time 
the L.M.S. , the Friends Foreign Missionary Association (as in 
Madagascar the Friends Service Council is still termed) and the Mission 
Protestante Fran9aise are engaged in discussions aiming at full organic 
union, and the Malagasy of the L.M.S. churches are called to decide 
what is to be the place of their tradition within the United Church of 
the future. The seeking of a full Christian unity in fellowship with 
the members of other missions is unquestionably a divine commission, 
and we must be glad that we have been called to this task. This does 
not mean, however, that we may lightly dismiss Congregational 



principles which are relevant to the World Church. In the words of 
the Wellesley Statement : "It is our fundamental principle that in all 
the organisation of the church at every level, all authority is spiritual, 
or, as our fathers put it, ministerial, not legalistic, coercive and 
magisterial. We believe this to be the true principle of government 
and authority in the whole church catholic ; this we regard as our 
essential contribution to the Universal Church. We point out that 
this is a principle of unity and fellowship in the Spirit, not a principle 
of individualism, will-worship, sectarianism or anarchy. It is a principle 
of unity, of authority, and of obedience to Christ." Something of this 
has already been discovered in Madagascar and the writer s hope, not 
untinged with anxiety, is that it may not be overlaid and obscured by 
future decisions. RAYMOND W. ARNOLD. 

Our Contemporaries 

The Baptist Quarterly, XVI, 2 (April 1955), contains, inter alia, 
"Warwick Baptist Church" by W. T. Goodwin, and "John Hooper & 
the Origins of Puritanism" by W. Morris West; XVI, 3 (July 1955), 
"Baptist Beginnings in Luton" by P. M. Burditt, and "Who may 
administer the Lord s Supper ?" by E. P. Winter (one of our own 

Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society of England, Vol. X, 
No. 4 (May 1955) has articles on "The Waldensian Church" by 
J. A. Gray; "History of the Presbyterian Church in Malaya" by 
Dr. A. D. Harcus, which details early association with the L.M.S.; 
"The Origin of Tunley Congregation" by F. Partington; and "The 
Presbyterian Plot of 1651" by H. J. Denton. 

Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, Vol. 30, No. 1, has 
accounts of Methodism in Scotland and, particularly, Glasgow; No. 
2 (June 1955) is largely a bi-centenary commemoration of John Cennick. 

Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, Vol. 10, No. 4 
(October 1954) carries articles on "Lydgate Chapel" by E. Basil Short; 
"A Minister s Wife of the Eighteenth Century" (Elizabeth Lawrence, 
1644-1720), by F. J. Hamblin; and "The Presbyterian Classical 
System, 1646-1660" by C. E. Surman. 

Journal of the Friends Historical Society, Vol. 46, No. 2, in its 
Editorial has some useful comments on the work of the historian and 
of Historical Societies. C.E.S. 

9 * 

Late Eighteenth- Century 
Dissent In Surrey 

MR. HERBERT MARYON, F.S.A., of the Research Laboratory, 
the British Museum, recently forwarded a valuable and interesting list 
of dissenting meeting-houses in Surrey registered with the Bishop of 
Winchester between 1763 and 1790, of which details are given below. 
Mr. Maryon writes : 

In the course of my work with Mr. H. V. Everard, B.Sc., at Southwark 
Central Library, we sorted and arranged a good bulk of Bishop s Tran 
scripts of church registers and other ecclesiastical documents for Surrey, 
and I came across a bundle of the original applications for registration of 
Dissenting meeting-houses for that part of the old diocese of Winchester 
now covered by the diocese of Guildford. It includes all London south of 
the River, from Richmond to near Greenwich, and goes as far south 
as Guildford. 

Among the records now kept at the Southwark Central Library are 
some of the Exhibit Books of the Diocese, in which there should be an 
entry corresponding with each application, noting that it had been granted. 
On the back of each application there is generally a note to the effect that 
it had been granted, and a date, generally a few days after that of the 
application. Though I have put in the accompanying list every one of the 
applications in the bundle, there may be a few more strewn anywhere 
among the diocesan papers stored in that top room. There is a great 
variety of material there excommunications, at least one will, and much 

Protestant Dissenters from the Church of England were exempted from 
the penalties imposed by certain earlier laws by an Act of Parliament made 
during the first year of the reign of William and Mary (1689), subject to 
the condition that they applied to the bishop of the diocese in which they 
resided for the registration of their meeting-houses. These documents 
bear the signatures of many of the leaders of the Protestant Dissenting 
congregations in Surrey, throwing light upon the early history of these 
churches and on some of the personalities engaged in the work. Besides 
those persons whose names are printed here, each application bears from 
. one to over thirty signatures of other members of the congregation support 
ing the claim. 

Two attempts have been made at writing the history of Congre 
gationalism in Surrey : John Waddington published Surrey Congre 
gational History in 1866, and E. E. Cleal The Story of Congregationalism 
in Surrey in 1908. Wzddington s work is good as far as it goes, although 
his earlier records can now be extensively supplemented by information 
in relation to the 17th and 18th centuries which has come to light in the 
succeeding ninety years, deal s book, leaning heavily on Waddington 
whom he frequently misquotes, was an unscholarly production, badly 
arranged, lacking an index nominum, and needing to be used with 
great care and reserve. 



The calendar now provided by Mr. Maryon, and published with 
his approval and that of the Diocesan Registrar, Graham D. Heath 
Esq., M.A., opens a rewarding field for some local research student, 
and stimulates the hope that a long-needed and reliable revision of the 
above-mentioned county histories may be forthcoming. Many of the 
and ministers are hitherto unmentioned in denominational 


records, whilst others richly supplement hints and fill lacunae in the 
received accounts of our older Surrey churches. Extensive notes and 
identifications -have been prepared which limitation of space does not 
allow us to print here as would be desirable, but our Research Secretary 
would be happy to make the information available to any bone fide 
worker in this field. There are 98 entries in all. 



of building 



6 Aug. 



House of 

John Bowes 


Francis Carter. 

signs first. 

20 Sep. 


St. Mary 

Brick Building 
in New Road nr. 

John Knipe 
Minister of 



Salisbury St. 


4 Oct. 


House in posses 



sion of L. 



Preacher of 


God s Word. 

9 Jan. 



Dwelling House 

Rich. Hutchings 


of Captain 

or Peter Wright 

Daniel Thomason. 

sign first. 

22 July, 


,, ,, 

House of Mr. 

Richard Trott 


Rd. Trott 

signs first. 

in Long Lane. 

13 Sep. 


Building in 



occupation of 


Jeremiah Garrett 


adjoining house 

of Cook in 

Cherry Garden 


10 Dec. 



Pt. of House in 

W. Bugby, 


possession of 


Christr. Abel. 

14 Oct. 


Brockham in 

Meeting House 
possession of 

W. Bugby, 


Christopher Abel. 

19 Aug. 



Large Hall + 2 

William Smith, 

Prot. Diss. 

Parlours, property 


of John Windham 

Bowyer, now in 

possession of 

Wm. Smith, clerk. 





of building 



7 Apr. 1779 


New Building 

William Smith, 

Prot. Diss. 



Dwelling House 

of Rev. W. Smith. 

26 June, 1786 

Peckham in 

Messuage or 

Rupt. Atkinson, 



Tenement in 


possession of 

(W. Bugby et al. 

Thos. Cockett. 


29 Oct. 1786 

99 99 

House in 

R. Trott 


Rossey s Row 

signs first. 

in occupation 

of Samuel Wilks. 

24 Mar. 1788 

M 99 

House in 

John Hardwidge 


Rossey s Row 

signs first. 

in occupation 

of Samuel Wilks. 

14 Feb. 1789 

99 99 

House + room 

N. Fisher 


facing end of 

signs first. 

Rye Lane, of 

Martin Ready. 

18 Sep. 1764 


Room in house 




Wm. Griffin situa 



ted in Lady 

signs first. 

Clarks Yard, 

Parradice Court. 

30 Oct. 1780 

Meeting House 

Corns. Cayley, 


occupation of 


Thos. Smith. 

18 Sep. 1783 

I 99 

Building (appli 

Matthew Wilks 

Prot. Diss. 

cants living 


13 June, 1776 Clapham 
9 Oct. 1777 

12 Aug. 1789 

18 Aug. 1764 Cobham 

24 Oct. 1768 
3 Apr. 1788 Dorking 

in and about St. 
George s Road). 
My dwelling house John Langford, Baptist 



New Building on John Langford, Independent 
North Side of Minister. and Baptist 

Clapham Common. 

House of Watkin (who signs first). Prot. Diss. 

Dwelling House Thos. Martin, Independent 
and Court before Minnister. 
the door of Samuel 
Phairs in Poulters 
Lane near Down 
side Common. 

New House at end Thos. Martin, Independent 
of Plow Lane, Minnister. 


Dwelling House John Nettlefold Prot. Diss. 
of Thos. Rose in signs first. 
Holm Wood. 





of building 

Minister, Denomination 

3 Nov. 1786 Effingham 

8 Mar. 1788 Egham 
1 Mar. 1790 

30 May, 1777 Epsom 

31 Mar. 1778 
13 Jan. 1787 

30 Mar. 1764 Esher 

13 Sep. 1785 Ewell 

25 Mar. 1777 Farnham 

9 Sep. 1780 

23 Aug. 1787 Godalming 

14 Oct. 1789 
21 July, 1790 

26 Oct. 1787 Guildford, 
St. Mary 

5 Sep. 1785 Medley 
20 Apr. 1765 Horley 

Part of Building W. Bugby, 
in possession of Minister. 
Wm. Woodbourne. 

House in Tight 
Hill otherwise 
Egham Hill. 

Dwelling House of Thos. 
T. Engleheart on Engleheart, 
the Midle Hill, 

House in posses 
sion of W. Bugby 
in Epsom. 
Part of Building 
in possession of 
William Bugby. 
Part of House in 
possession of Wm. Minister. 
Bugby, situated on 
lands called 
Harris Hearn. 
House of William 
Part of House of 

Building in posses- Thos. Taylor, 
sion of Elizabeth Minister. 
Abney, spinster, 
situated at Tilford. 
House belonging Nathan 
to Jno. Wells. 

Thos. Sylvester, 


Wm. Bugby, 

Wm. Bugby, 

W. Bugby, 

Wm. Chandler 
signs first. 
Enoch Colvil, 

signs first. 
Wm. Buchanan 
signs first. 

Part of dwelling 

house in occup. 

of James Fleet, 

frame-work knitter. 

House occupied by James Farley, 

Henry Balchin, in Mr. 

Dowling Lane. 

Building called John Geal 

Ockford Lane signs first. 


Messuage or James South, 

tenement in Minister. 

occupation of 

James South. 

Part of house of W. Bugby, 

Geo. Wilsher. Minister. 

House in posses- Wm. Bourn, 

sion of Mr. Joseph Elder. 




Prot. Diss. 




Prot. Diss. 



Date Parish 

of building 



13 Nov. 1787 Horley 

Part of House in 
possession of 

Chris. Abel, 


14 July, 1773 Kingston- 

24 Mar. 1780 
26 Nov. 1790 
3 Aug. 1765 Lambeth 

15 Nov. 1777 

31 May, 1785 Lambeth, 
St. Mary 

17 Apr. 1786 

29 June, 1786 

21 Nov. 1786 

2 Apr. 1787 

21 Nov. 1790 
3 Jan. 1785 Leigh 
13 Dec. 1775 Lingfield 

Elizth. Young. 

Old Meeting J. West, 

House for many Minister. 

years past made 

use of as place of 

Divine Worship by 

the people called 

Quakers. This 

application on 

behalf of 


House in Apple 

Market, occupied 

by Mr. Jno. Finch. 

New Meeting 

House in 

Back Lane. 

House in three Thos. Bade 

coney Walk near Pastor of a 

Lambeth Wells church at 

now in possession Ratclif. 

of Rich. Nicholas. 

Room in dwelling Edward Papp, 

house of Edward Minister. 

Loader, shopkeeper. 

Chaise-house in Joseph 

Kennington Lane Cartwright. 

of Rev. J. Cartwright. 


Thos. Mabbott, Baptist 

Thos. Mabbott, Baptist 





Messuage or Thos. Williams, 

tenement in Minister, 

occupation of 
Joseph Chalk. 

The Welch Wm. Owen, Baptist 

Meeting House Minister, 
at 5 Fore St. 

Chapel or Meeting Wm. Huckwell, Prot. Diss. 
House in Ken- Minister, 
nington Lane. 

Messuage or tene- Thos. Williams, Independent 
ment in Church Minister. 
Street, in occu 
pation of John 
Kitson and Wm. 

House in High St. James Langford, Prot. Diss. 
of Wm. Ambler. signs first. 
House of Peter W. Bugby, Independent 

Hoar. Minister. 

House in posses- Thos. Humphreys, 
sion of Joseph Pastour. Independent 



Date Parish Description Minister. Denomination 

of building 


17 Feb. 1789 Lingfield 
27 June, 1763 Mitcham 

22 Nov. 1763 
4 Aug. 1776 

1 Nov. 1785 

30 x. 1770 Nutfield 
22 Feb. 1786 Ockham 

16 Oct. 1773 Richmond 

17 Nov. 1773 

11 Mar. 1779 

19 Jan. 1764 Rotherhithe, 

St. Mary 
24 June, 1768 Rotherhithe 

15 Dec. 1787 Rotherhithe, 
St. Mary 

4 Aug. 1777 Shackleford 

24 Sep. 1764 Southwark, 
St. George 

Building in parish Thos. Humphrey, 

of Lingfield. Pastor. Baptist 

House in occu- John Barsley, Prot. Diss. 

pation of Mr. (sic) Pastor. 

Rich. Hillyer. 

House in occu- John Beasley, Prot. Diss. 

pation of Mr. Pastor. 

Wm. Phillips. 

New and compleat Abr. Fenton, Independent 

Building near signs first. 

Turnpike Road 

leading to Sutton. 

In house of Darby Short, Independent 

Joseph Cave. Joseph Witton, 

et al. (last And. Colvin). 
House in possession Thos. Hayllar 

of Thos. Dann. 
Room in occu 
pation of 
John Baxter. 
House, property 
of Daniel Bullin. 

signs first. 
John Baxter 
signs first 

Thos. Finch 
or John Griffith 
sign first. 
Solo n Emmons, 
Minister of 
ye Gospel. 

The Old Play 
house, the 
Property and in 
possession of Isaac 
Manwaring and 
Mary Watkins, 

in possession of 
John Crouchor. 
House in Lavender Thos. Cook, 




Wm. Hunting- Independent 
don, Minister of 
the Gospel. 


House in Trinity 
Street in posses 
sion of 
Robert May. 
Room and occas. 
as a school, 
adjoining dwelling 
house of 

Mr. Jas. Newman. 
House adjoining 
that of Wm. 

Room in dwelling- Wm. Joseph 
house in posses- signs first, 
of John Parker, in 
Peters Street, in 
the Mint. 

Thos. Mitchell, 
Preacher of 
God s Word. 

Saml. Batt 
signs first. 

Edw. Tapp and 
Wm. Crawford, 









of building 

Minister, Denomination 

15 Aug. 



House of John 

John Bellamy, 

Prot. Dias. 

St. George 

Bellamy in 


Faulcon Court. 

9 Apr. 


99 99 

New Building in 

Wm. Wheeler, 


Fair Maid Alley. 

Thos. Hastings 

signs first. 

2 Jan. 



Building in Lant 

Jos. Cartwright, 


Street, formerly 


used as an Assembly 


27 Aug. 



Dwelling house in 

John Gill 


occup. of Mr. 

signs first. 

Walter Bridges in 

Gravel Lane nr. 

St. George s Fields. 

1 Apr. 



Dwelling house in 

Jno. Langford, 

Baptist and 

St. John 

Gainford Street, 




16 Oct. 



Building in 

Wm. Button, 


St. Olave 

Dean St. 


6 Jan. 


99 99 

Room adjacent 

John Wainwright 

dwelling house of 

Morren, Pastor. 


J. W. Morren 

situated in the 


15 Oct. 



Meeting House. 

John Neatby 


St. Saviour 

signs first. 

10 Feb. 


99 l 

Place originally a 

Chas. Bradbury 


a Quakers 

signs first. 

Meeting in 

Ewers Street. 

13 Jan. 


99 99 

Meeting House 

Chas. Bradbury 


in Zoar Street. 


26 Jan. 


99 99 

Dwelling house 

Wm. Whiffen 


and School of 

signs first. 

Aaron West in the 

Grove near 

Bandyleg Walk. 

14 Nov. 



Schoolroom, part 

John Townson, 


of dwelling- 


house occupied by 

Mary Lawler, in 

Gt. Bandyleg Walk 

7 Apr. 


99 99 

Dwelling house 

James Ried 


in Pump Court, 

signs first. 

in occupation of 

John Cliff. 

18 Nov 

. 1788 

99 99 

House in posses 

Edward Dudley 


sion of Mr. J. S. 

Jackson signs 

Skill at 12 New St. 


30 Oct. 



House in occu- 

Jno. Ovington 


pation of 
Jonathan Brown. 





of building 



25 Oct. 



Room in dwelling 

Robert Nesham 


house of Mr. R. 

signs first. 


30 Jan. 



Meeting House 

John Williams 


lately erected 

signs first. 

in possession of 

Jonathan Brown. 

4 Mar. 



Room in dwelling 

Thos. Frankling 


house of Mr. 

signs first. 

Thos. Frankling. 

4 June 



Newly erected 

John Clark 


Meeting House. 

signs first. 

1 Apr. 



Room in posses 

Peter Moor 



sion of Thos. 

signs first. 


31 Mar. 



House in posses 

Wm. Kingsbury, 



sion of James 

Teacher of 


God s Word. 

11 Feb. 



Building lately 

Samuel Wilton 

Prot. Diss. 

erected in 


Tooting Graveney, 

13 Oct. 


> M 

House in posses 

James Bowden, 


sion of James 



3 Feb. 



House in posses 

Joseph Swain, 


sion of John 

Teacher of 

Marsh in Garret 

God s Word. 

Lane nr. the high 

Road leading 

through Wandsworth. 

2 Aug. 



House of Mr. 

Thos. Engleheart 

Rich. Lewis, at 

and Enoch 



Colwell, Jt. 


26 Mar. 



Building in High 



St. for the 

MacKenzie, of 

French Refugees, 




1 July, 



Building in Jews 



Row leading to 


the river Thames. 


11 Nov. 



Room in dwelling 

James South 


nr. Woking 

house of James 

signs first. 

Hodd, shopkeeper. 

2 June, 



Building recently 

James South, 

Prot. Dws. 

in Wokeing. 

erected in the 


Tvthing of 


16 Jan. 1778 


House and room 

Wm. Huntington 

in possession of 



John Hackman. 

Might be 1758, but this date teems more probable. 



C. A. BARTON, Historical Notes & Records of the Parish of Terling, 

Essex, 1953. 

A. E. CARSON, Union Church, Brighton, 1954. 
J. B. CLARK, Three Hundred Years: History of the Congregational 

Church, Keswick, 1954. 

A. G. MATTHEWS, Mr. Pepys and Nonconformity, 1954. 
G. H. PETERS, The Vanished Village: Catford, 1954. 
C. E. SURMAN, The Pastoral Ministry of the Church, 1955. 
H. G. TIBBUTT, Colonel John Okey, 1606-1662, 1955: Steventon 

Baptist Meeting, 1655-1955, 1955. 
K. W. WADSWORTH, Yorkshire United Independent College, 1954. 


A. C. FINLAYSON, Hendon Congregational Church, 1854-1954, 1954. 
S. REES-TYRER, The History of California Chapel, Ipswich, 1854-1954. 

F. SIDDLE, History of Clark Street Congregational Church, Morecambe, 

G. SYDENHAM, The Hyde Congregational Church, Hendon, 1955. 
H. C. THOMPSON, The Kuruman Mission, 1954.